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Updated BMW i8 and new i8 Roadster revealed

30 November 2017

BMW has officially revealed a long-awaited soft-top variant of its i8 hybrid supercar, which joins an upgraded version of the standard Coupe.

BMW has not only unveiled the updated 2019 BMW i8 Coupe today at the LA Auto Show, but has also unveiled the new i8 Roadster.

2018 BMW i8 Roadster 19 830x553

Convertibles require more chassis strengthening than coupes, so the Roadster understandably is heavier - though we don't know by how much. Both new i8 models are fueled by the same 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that's accompanied by an electric motor. Pressing the eDrive button increases all-electric top speed to 120 km/h (75 mph).

The Roadster's soft-top is all-electric and opens in 15 seconds at a button's push while traveling up to 31 miles per hour. A tiny, turbocharged aluminum rattlebox of an engine powered the i8's rear wheels and an electric motor churned the front for all-wheel drive excellence.

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Other than two new colors (E-Copper and Donnington Grey) and a badge behind the doors, the Coupe looks pretty much like its predecessor.

BMW claims the Roadster is capable of hitting 100kph from a standstill in 4.6 seconds, while the i8 Coupe facelift does the same in 4.4 seconds.

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"The higher percentage [of sales] will be in the roadster, definitely", said Robert Irlinger, head of BMW i. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the 2018 i8 coupe starts at $144,395. This allows for a 12-hp bump in peak power from the front electric motor, bringing its output to 141 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. All that adds up to a 0-60 miles per hour time of 4.4 seconds, placing it just behind the seat-toting i8 Coupe which does it in 4.2 seconds. This system retains BMW's traditional dial controller on the console, but also adds touchscreen capabilities. It's cell capacity is increased from 20 Ah to 34 Ah, boosting energy capacity from 7.1 kWh to 11.6, giving it a net energy capacity of 9.4 kWh (usable).

Both can be ordered with Tera World Copper interior trim, which is new to the i8, and features a cloth and leather upholstery combination in a two-tone (Amido/E-Copper) colour scheme. Mpg has also been improved to 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, although these numbers are always notoriously hard to replicate in the real world, unless you charge frequently and mainly undertake short journeys.

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Updated BMW i8 and new i8 Roadster revealed