The facelifted BMW i8 and the new i8 Roadster plug-in hybrid sportscars have officially touched down in South Africa, with pricing starting at a little under R2,1-million.
The refreshed i8 coupé kicks off at R2 095 200, while the new i8 Roadster starts at R2 329 300. Interesting options include “Laserlight” headlamps (R65 500), black-and-blue brake callipers (R5 900), Apple CarPlay preparation (R4 300) and a variety of 20-inch alloy wheel designs (from R21 800 to R26 200).
In November 2017, BMW whipped the covers off its i8 Roadster (which we've since driven in Spain), revealing the topless newcomer alongside an updated version of the coupé.
The new 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 furthermore 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 been 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 prodding 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.
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.