Full reveal of new BMW i8 Roadster

30 November, 2017, 13:55 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • 2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

BMW finally took the covers off of the production i8 Roadster late November, revealing a droptop version of the vehicle and that both coupe and convertible now come with more power and greater range.

After a steady drip feed of teasers, leaks and spy shots, BMW has officially unveiled the i8 Roadster, along with an updated i8 Coupe.

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.

Nonetheless, the soft top made the Roadster 132 pounds heavier than the standard model and BMW had to equip it with its own suspension calibration and chassis-stiffening system which calibrates the handling levels. The i8 roadster features a fabric soft top that can open or close in less than 16 seconds, at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. The 2019 models squeeze 18 miles of pure EV range out of the auto thanks to the new 11.6kWh battery pack.

The roof can be opened and closed at speeds up to 50kph in 15 seconds, and its aluminium framework has been produced using 3D printing. The electric motor driving the front wheels gets 12bhp more power (now 141bhp) while the 1.5-litre petrol triple driving the rear wheels is unchanged in power (at 228bhp) but is said to sound sportier than before.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

If you really want to make sure your new i8 sticks out from the pack, you have to go with the new Roadster.

The 2018 i8 siblings share an upgraded drivetrain with electric motor power up to 141bhp from 129bhp.

Despite hopes that BMW would do something properly interesting with the i8's plug-in hybrid powertrain, it gets a very light makeover. The electric motor is good for 105kW and pure EV range is quoted at 28km.

BMW has yet to reveal the two cars' curb weights, but they can't be that far apart, as the chunkier i8 is just 0.2 seconds slower to 60 miles per hour, and only gets one mile less on battery power than the i8 Coupe.

While the coupe can seat four people in a pinch, the roadster is purely a two-seat proposition. To make the soft top possible, BMW had to come up with a new design for its frameless gullwing doors, which are made of CFRP, just like the entire windscreen frame and body panels including the side skirts with their extra-large cross-sections. New color schemes being offered include E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic, both with Frozen Grey metallic accents.

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