Full reveal of new BMW i8 Roadster

Reaching 60 miles per hour in the coupe takes 4.2 seconds, while the roadster is slightly slower at 4.4 seconds, but both models have an electronically limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. The key ingredient is a new lithium-ion battery pack developed specifically for the i8 thanks to BMW's practice with the array of plug-ins the company has produced since the i8's introduction.

The petrol engine churns out the same 228bhp it did to drive the back wheels, but the electric motor for the front wheels gets an extra 12bhp (that'll transform it) for a total of 141bhp. Styling-wise, it looks very similar to the coupé but features many individual highlights, beginning with the electrically operated soft-top roof which fully retracts into the rear end for a targa look.

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.

Interestingly enough, it stows in a perpendicular position behind the passengers.

Speaking of which, the all-new BMW i8 Roadster is only about 60 kg (130 pounds) heavier than the Coupe, despite having a reinforced CFRP chassis and an electrically retractable soft top. The rear window is also a wind deflector and has been modified to close or open independently of the roof.

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The result is more power with the gross energy rating now up 7.1kWh to 11.6kWh giving the electric motor which drives the front wheels a power output of 143 horsepower.

The design of the coupe remains fairly unchanged from the nearly 4-year-old version, but the open-top roadster is the new long-awaited version of the plug-in vehicle. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine is still present putting out 230bhp.

On sale in the New Year and priced from £124,730 the new i8 Roadster will be joined by a revised i8 Coupe costing from £112,730 - an increase of some £6,000 over the current model. Top speed of both cars is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour.

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). The electric motor is good for 105kW and pure EV range is quoted at 28km. Inside there's also a Tera World Copper with E-Copper trim.


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