BMW i8 Roadster adds open-top thrills to Munich's plug-in sports vehicle

BMW i8 Roadster adds open-top thrills to Munich's plug-in sports vehicle

BMW i8 Roadster adds open-top thrills to Munich's plug-in sports vehicle

They're finally here: the BMW i8 Roadster and the BMW i8 Coupe, both updated and hitting the market next year.

The new BMW i8 Coupe and Roadster will be launched in May 2018.

With the addition of the folding roof mechanism and structural reinforcements, the i8 Roadster weighs 1595 kilograms, or around 60kg more than the coupe model. BMW expects both models to have a 70 MPGe rating.

For the 2019 model year, BMW's answer seems to be the following: Please forget the roof, and here's 12 more horsepower and up to 3 miles of additional pure electric range.

For now the auto has merely been unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show - there's still no information as to when the new i8 Roadster goes on sale in the United Kingdom, or what it might cost.

The Roadster's trick is a new roof structure which stows automatically under a panel between the buttresses, all in around 15 seconds at up to 30mph.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster

The petrol engine churns out the same 228bhp it did to drive the back wheels, but the electric motor for the front wheels gets an extra 12bhp (that'll transform it) for a total of 141bhp.

The dashboard is lightly updated for the i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe, with the latest version of BMW's iDrive system now offering either touch control on a free-standing 8.8-in. The difference we are talking about is the fact that the 2019 BMW i8 features a 2+2 seating arrangement while the i8 Roadster is a two-seater.

Despite hopes that BMW would do something properly interesting with the i8's plug-in hybrid powertrain, it gets a very light makeover. For reference, an i8 Coupe starts at $144,395 today.

The engine is now boosted to 231hp giving a combined power output to 374hp which gives the i8 performance figures of 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds for the Coupe and 4.6 seconds for the Roadster.

Several adaptations had to be made, however, including the use of newly designed frameless gullwing doors made from CFRP with an aluminum outer shell, as well as the windscreen frame made entirely from CFRP. The lithium-ion battery cell capacity is up from 20 to 34 Ah. Top speed on both is restricted to 155mph.

BMW has also released two new paint finishes, E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic. The Giga and Halo interior trim options remain available and a new Tera World Copper has been added.

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