After a multitude of spy photos and various teasers over the last few months, the BMW i8 Roadster 2018 has finally been unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show. In order to accommodate the Roadster's new folding roof mechanism, BMW has had to strengthen the car's bodywork, meaning it weighs 60kg more than the Coupe.
Options on both models include head-up display, laser high beam system, and an acoustic pedestrian warning system, which operates at speeds up to 30km/h when the auto is operating in electric-only mode. The result is a noticeable increase in dynamic performance, operating range and the amount of driving possible using purely the electric drive system.
Power on both models has been increased and so has range with the cars now capable of zero emission motoring for up to 34 miles, nearly twice the distance possible on the original i8.
That battery capacity also lets the new i8 go 18 miles in electric vehicle mode. But BMW was able to optimize its eDrive tech to get more power and range out of the vehicle. Furthermore, the soft top can be opened in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. A mid-mounted turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine works in conjunction with a front-axle mounted electric motor. The automobiles also get an additional 12 horsepower out of the system bringing it up the total to 369 horsepower.
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Despite hopes that BMW would do something properly interesting with the i8's plug-in hybrid powertrain, it gets a very light makeover. That almost doubles the amount of storage available in the Roadster versus the i8 Coupe.
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. Top speed on both is restricted to 155mph.
The 2019 i8 Roadster doesn't look that different from the coupe, other than the different top and the fact that the two rear seats have been removed. 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 iconic gullwing doors have also been retained.
Both can be ordered with Tera World Copper interior trim, which is new to the i8, and features a cloth and leather upholstery combination in a two-tone (Amido/E-Copper) colour scheme.