After a teaser campaign that has spanned in-depth sketches, concept cars and videos, BMW have finally given us our first proper look at the stunning BMW i8 Roadster.
Unveiled alongside the new BMW i8 Coupe at this year’s Los Angeles Motor Show, the all-new BMW i8 Roadster is just as amazing as we had all hoped – taking everything that makes the i8 Coupe ‘the sports car of the future’ whilst adding in the joys of roofless driving.
Unlike many coupe to roadster conversions, a large weight gain hasn’t been a consequence of the Roadster’s roof removal; that is all thanks to the LifeDrive architecture that has been used across the BMW i range.
Built around a carbon-reinforced plastic core, the i8 platform already featured a high level of rigidity and negated the use of large strengthening elements – the result is a weight gain of just 60kg.
That’s not all, the new i8 Coupe and i8 Roadster come with more good news. Featuring the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as the previous iteration but new battery technology that offers an additional 12bhp, both variants now feature a total of 374bhp.
This new battery technology has also extended the all-electric range of i8 to over 30miles and allows electric-only driving to a speed of 65mph rather than the previous 43mph.
As with the previous generation BMW i8, all of the power is fed to all-four wheels, with the electric motor managing the front axle and the petrol engine the rear axle. This setup and the additional power sees the i8 Coupe reach 62mph from a standstill in just 4.4 seconds and the Roadster 4.6 seconds. Both variants are electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph.
Exterior design on the new i8 Roadster remains largely similar to its coupe sibling (why change what isn’t broken?) but of course features the ability to remove that fabric roof electronically in just 15 seconds at speeds up to 31mph. Using an innovative way of folding the roof away, BMW have managed to maximise boot space even when enjoying the pleasures of top-down driving.
After a long but exciting wait for the BMW i8 Roadster to appear, BMW have announced that the car’s market launch will be in May 2018 – meaning that there isn’t long left to wait!