The BMW i8 is a sports car of the future in the showrooms of today. The 2+2 seater has been a technological pioneer and the world’s best-selling hybrid sports car since it arrived in 2014.
Now, the allure of sustainable driving pleasure is poised to enter another new dimension. The all new i8 Roadster takes the combination of emission-free and high-performance and adds open-top thrills. It is unique in offering such performance and silent acceleration with the pure sensation of roof-down driving.
Following the world premier of the i8 Roadster at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2017, the order book will open in January 2018. The Roadster will be joined in showrooms by the mid-life update of the i8 Coupé, with both models based on the LifeDrive vehicle architecture purpose-built and designed for BMW i cars. The aluminum ‘Drive’ module brings together the powertrain, high-voltage battery, suspension, crash system and structural functions, while the ‘Life’ module takes the form of a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, unique to the segment.
The i8 Roadster benefits from lightweight construction, complete with a low center of gravity and even weight distribution. The aerodynamic exterior – with model-specific dihedral doors – is a fine exponent of the signature BMW i design language.
Passengers inside the i8 Roadster will look up to find either the open sky or a high-quality, all-season fabric soft-top with high-level soundproofing. All-electric operation ensures the roof opens or closes in an almost silent hush, within 16 seconds and while traveling at up to 31mph.
BMW’s rigorously developed eDrive technology powers both the i8 Roadster and Coupé. The number of driving situations where the electric motor is solely responsible for powering the car has been significantly increased. By contrast, the combustion engine is only brought into play when accelerating hard, and is switched off again more frequently with a measured driving style.
Underpinning its improved emission-free range is an updated version of the i8’s lithium-ion battery. The high-voltage unit is located centrally under the car, and its cell capacity is increased from 20 to 34Ah. All of which means the motor has more energy at its disposal. Plus, the cell configuration allows a 12hp increase in peak output to 143hp.
The improved technology means the i8 Roadster can cover up to 33 miles with zero emissions, while the i8 Coupé can achieve up to 34 miles, broadening the reach of all-electric mobility well beyond the city limits.
The new BMW i8 Coupé and new BMW i8 Roadster are powered by a hybrid synchronous electric motor and a three-cylinder gas engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine’s power is fed to the rear wheels through a six-speed Steptronic transmission, while the electric motor propels the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. The end result is a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system that glues the car to the road.
The system output produced by the electric motor and engine acting in unison has increased to 374hp. The new BMW i8 Coupé accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 4.4 seconds, while the new i8 Roadster takes 4.6 seconds. Both models have an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
Combined fuel consumption, as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, stands at 149.8mpg for the BMW i8 Coupé and 134.5mpg for the BMW i8 Roadster.
The new i8 goes on sale in January 2018. Prices for the BMW i8 Coupé starts at over $150,000 and the Roadster is priced from over $167,000.