The BMW i8 Roadster was long awaited since BMW showcased the i8 Spyder Concept back in 2012. After the endless delay, the Bavarian carmaker has finally revealed the open-top i8 hybrid sports car at the 2017 Los Angeles Motor Show.
The i8 Roadster becomes the third member of BMW’s futuristic i family. The open-top i8 carries forward all the hardware of the i8 Coupe along with the design language. The CFRP construction ensures lightweight. Therefore, the drop-head i8 is just 60 kilograms heavier than its hard-top sibling. The all-electric roof opens and closes at a touch of a button in 15 seconds and while travelling at up to 50kmph. The soft-top can be stowed back in a cavity behind the seats in a perpendicular position.
BMW has modified the windscreen as well in order to accommodate the new roof. The windscreen now gets a strengthened frame and larger quarter windows. The rear window doubles as a wind deflector can also be closed or opened independently without the roof. However, the 2+2 seating configuration is now changed to a strict two-seater.
The cabin has been updated similar to the i8 Coupe. BMW says that the Roadster gets special seats, bespoke tuning for springs, damping and Dynamic Stability Control. The stylish 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels come as standard. The 8.8-inch free-standing iDrive system now gets an option of touchscreen control.
Powering the i8 Roadster is the same eDrive plug-in hybrid drive system but is now more powerful than before. The battery pack is upgraded to 11.6kWh over 7.1kWh. The electric motors now produce 105kW/143bhp and can drive the car to 105kmph on pure battery power which can be increased to 120kmph at a push of a (eDrive) button. The electric range is now claimed to be 53 kilometres. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine is still present putting out 230bhp. The combined power output of 369bhp and 570Nm is channelled through a six-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.
The long-awaited i8 Roadster will go on sale alongside an updated version of the two-plus-two i8 coupe early next year. Pricing detail will be announced at the same time.