BMW has taken the wraps off the new i8 Roadster as well as the updated i8 Coupé at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Both body variants are expected to arrive in South Africa in the second half of 2018.
The plug-in hybrid models feature “further developed” eDrive technology, which the Munich-based brand says has enabled “longer range and more time in pure-electric mode”.
The new BMW i8 Roadster features model-specific body strengthening elements, with the windscreen frame fashioned from carbon-fibre reinforced-plastic. BMW says the soft-top model is “approximately 60 kg” heavier than the coupé. The Roadster benefits from model-specific tuning for the springs, damping and dynamic stability control system.
The automaker says the electric roof is capable of opening in 15 seconds while travelling at up to 50 km/h. The soft-top stows in a perpendicular position, which BMW says creates “around 100 litres of additional storage space behind the seats”.
Interestingly, the cell capacity of the lithium-ion battery used in both models has been increased from 20 to 34 Ah, while gross energy capacity is up from 7,1 to 11,6 kWh. The electric motor’s maximum output, meanwhile, has hiked by nine units to 105 kW (taking peak system output from 266 kW to 275 kW). The 1,5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine has an unchanged output of 170 kW.
Driving with the electric motor alone is possible at up to 105 km/h (this limit was previously 70 km/h), while pressing the eDrive button pushes the pure-electric driving threshold up to 120 km/h.
The i8 Roadster’s electric range is a claimed 53 km and its overall consumption 2,1 L/100 km (while the coupé now comes in at 55 km and 1,9 L/100 km), with BMW saying the soft-top two-seater will sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 4,6 seconds (two-tenths tardier than the coupé’s unchanged time of 4,4 seconds), before topping out at 250 km/h.