BMW unveils new i8 Roadster and Coupe with more electric range

Nov 30, 2017, 12:29
BMW unveils new i8 Roadster and Coupe with more electric range

The 2019 BMW i8 Coupe and i8 Roadster will enter showrooms globally, starting in the second quarter of 2018. It won't sell in high volume, but it'll draw attention, no question.

The new i8 Roadster model is basically a chop-top version of the i8 Coupe with the rear seats removed in order to make way for the folding rooftop and its mechanism. With sleek, concept vehicle looks and a forward-thinking powertrain design, the i8 proved to be a sensation. That's the lesson automakers learned after Tesla's original electric Roadster and the Model S sedan proved the electric auto market could expand well beyond nerdy Earth do-gooders.

However, both have an improved electric range - the Coupe can travel 55km on electric power only, while the Roadster can do 53km.

Before we look at the new Roadster, let's jump into the guts of this newly-updated i8. The sides skirts are also made of CFRP, with the i8 Roadster also featuring additional struts and panels in the front and rear axles for increased rigidity.

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show Drop Top BMW i8 Roadster Revealed

After just a couple of years since the BMW i8's release, the model is getting a refresh and a new convertible variant.

The new BMW i8 Roadster accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Both are electronically limited to a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

As expected, the i8 Roadster is heavier than the fixed-roof model, by around 60 kg (132 lb). Its cell capacity is up from 20 Ah to 34 Ah, while the gross energy capacity has been increased from 7.1 kWh to 11.6 kWh. The engine remains the same, the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol we've come to know and love. (320 Nm) of torque as the existing unit, with drive channeled through a 6-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.

Despite hopes that BMW would do something properly interesting with the i8's plug-in hybrid powertrain, it gets a very light makeover. Also on offer is a new upholstery option, Tera World Copper with E-Copper upholstery. Other aesthetic changes include two new colour options, laser headlights and redesigned 20-inch alloy wheels. Mpg has also been improved to 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, although these numbers are always notoriously hard to replicate in the real world, unless you charge frequently and mainly undertake short journeys.