30 November, 2017
With sleek, concept auto looks and a forward-thinking powertrain design, the i8 proved to be a sensation.
Now that formula has been enhanced with a refurbished design, some battery and motor tweaks, and the introduction of a two-seat topless i8 Roadster.
Before we look at the new Roadster, let's jump into the guts of this newly-updated i8.
BMW has modified the windscreen as well in order to accommodate the new roof.
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The new i8 features an aluminium body supporting a carbon fibre reinforced passenger cell and under the skin the i8's electronics have been given a boost with battery capacity increased by 14Ah to 34Ah. Of course it is also coupled with the electric drive system at 141 hp that brings that total power output to a respectable 369 horsepower. Top speed of both cars is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour. However, the mid-mounted 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine is unchanged, save for a new particulate filter reducing NOx emissions in preparation of incoming real world economy testing. A six-speed automatic transmission runs the engine's power to the rear wheels while the electric motor has a two-speed automatic gearbox turning the front wheels.
BMW has added non-dazzling laser headlights to the i8's specification that boast an impressive high-beam range of 600 metres - double that of the current car's.
The Roadster wasn't the only i8-related development BMW unveiled in LA; since the i8 Coupe was introduced, electrification technology has evolved, and it benefits from the implements that have gone into the Roadster.
BMW says the all-electric roof opens and closes "very quietly" in 15 seconds, at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph).
Not that they were much use, but the rear side windows are ditched in the Roadster (it's a two-seater), as is the liftback which turns in to a rather long engine cover, and the interior gets a bit of a makeover (as does that in the 2018 Coupe). Of course this is the first major change over the coupe as this mechanical roof means the i8 Roadster has no back seats. This allows for geometric parts that can not be cast for the optimum strength and size to be used, balancing weight with rigidity requirements. On the outside, a slightly lower hood hump now includes a so-called "air-shutter", and there are new sets of wheels available, with the optional 20-inch being a tad lighter than before.