Technology

Los Angeles Auto Show: Drop-Top BMW i8 Roadster Revealed

Los Angeles Auto Show: Drop-Top BMW i8 Roadster Revealed

The i8 Roadster comes more than five years after it was originally unveiled as a concept at the 2012 Beijing motor show and two years since a more production-based concept was unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The dashboard is lightly updated for the i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe, with the latest version of BMW's iDrive system now offering either touch control on a free-standing 8.8-in.

The Roadster, like the newly-updated coupe version, will go half as far again in emission-free electric mode as the previous i8.

As a result, the i8 Roadster has an all-electric driving range of 53 km (33 miles). The automaker claims the number of driving situations where the electric motor is exclusively responsible for powering the auto has been significantly increased, with the combustion engine only being brought into play when accelerating hard. Both new models of the BMW i8 shown in LA are due to enter showrooms as 2019 model year entrants. All that adds up to a 0-60 miles per hour time of 4.4 seconds, placing it just behind the seat-toting i8 Coupe which does it in 4.2 seconds.

Under the hood of the 2019 all-wheel drive i8s are two electric motors and a three-cylinder turbocharged engine.

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All up, BMW says the Roadster is 60kg heavier than the Coupe. The 2018 BMW i8 coupe starts at $146,395. The combined power output of 369bhp and 570Nm is channelled through a six-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.

Going into more detail, the aluminium parts of the hood have been made using 3D printing, in order to obtain greater precision, while BMW claims to have worked thoroughly on the insulation - both thermal and acoustic.

Despite hopes that BMW would do something properly interesting with the i8's plug-in hybrid powertrain, it gets a very light makeover.

It sure looks tempting in this new hue, called E-Copper.

The interior of the 2019 BMW i8 sees design changes for infotainment and driver information screens. 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. 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.


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