We/ve been waiting for no less than eight years – since the namesake concept was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show and, finally, here it is, the Bavarian automaker has taken off the wraps off the i8 Roadster in front of the worldwide audience of the Los Angeles Auto Show.
It features the traditional soft-top design, wrapped in a technologically advanced form and even arrives with a new E-Copper metallic finish, along with a more intimate two-seat layout. The new soft-top can be opened/closed in less than 16 seconds at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour (49 kilometers per hour), and the electrically actuated mechanism has connecting elements that were built entirely using 3D printing to ensure overall accuracy. The all-season fabric roof stows away perpendicular into the rear, with the rear seats deletion making way to a new 3.5 square feet of storage area, complimenting the rear one of 4.7 square feet.
The 2019 i8 Roadster also arrives in time for a refresh of the line, with the mechanical updates also valid for the coupe brother. There’s a redeveloped BMW eDrive system, delivering a combined 369 horsepower (275 kilowatts), 12 more than the predecessor – in addition, the Roadster weighs 3,513 pounds (1,593 kilograms), just 132 pounds (60 kilograms) more than the coupe. Both now have a bigger 11.6-kilowatt hour battery pack in lieu of the outgoing 7.1-kWh one, with the electric motor good for 141 hp (105 kW) and 184 pound-feet (249 Newton-meters), granting a range of 18 miles (28 kilometers) in pure electric mode.
The i8 now jumps to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 4.2 seconds as a coupe, and 4.4 seconds as a convertible, with an electronically governed maximum speed of 155 mph (249 kph). Design alterations are very slim – new lower hood, bigger kidney grilles, and a flat underbody. Next to the E-Copper finish there’s also a fresh Donington Grey metallic, 20-inch BMW i lightweight alloy wheels that are 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) lighter than the former offering and an updated cockpit. There’s a modified sports steering wheel, a multifunction instrument display, and an 8.8-inch freestanding touchscreen control. The Giga trim features full-leather upholstery in Ivory White for the Coupe, and Ivory White/Black for the Roadster while the optional Halo has cloth/leather upholstery in a Carum/Dalbergia color setup.