Technology

At long last - BMW i8 Roadster details released

At long last - BMW i8 Roadster details released”

While the Coupe is a tenth faster to 62mph than the old one, at 4.4 seconds, the Roadster drops two tenths on that as it labours just that little bit harder to get its mass moving off the line.

The Roadster's trick is a new roof structure which stows automatically under a panel between the buttresses, all in around 15 seconds at up to 30mph.

The hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive set-up sees the petrol engine driving the rear wheels while the electric motor does its business upfront. 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.

All up, BMW says the Roadster is 60kg heavier than the Coupe.

The roof, which consists of a large fabric-covered panel and integrated header rails, is claimed to open in just 15 seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour (50 km/h), providing the i8 Roadster with full open-air properties.

Power on both models has been increased and so has range with the cars now capable of zero emission motoring for up to 34 miles, nearly twice the distance possible on the original i8. Its cell capacity has risen from a previous 20 Ah to 34 Ah, with energy capacity increasing from 7.1 kWh to 11.6 kWh. The rear window is also a wind deflector and has been modified to close or open independently of the roof.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

This battery boosting has meant that more power can be directed to the electric motor, bumping it by 12 horsepower to 141 horses in all (105 kW) and 184 pound-feet (249 Nm) of torque.

A new E-Copper finish has been added, as has a Donington Grey metallic for both the Coupe and the Roadster.

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 automaker claims the number of driving situations where the electric motor is exclusively responsible for powering the vehicle has been significantly increased, with the combustion engine only being brought into play when accelerating hard.

Also new is BMW's latest 360° electric charging system. BMW SA expects the new Coupe and Roadster to reach local shores during the second half of 2018.

Pricing has not been announced, but a BMW representative told us the i8 Roadster will start "north of $150,000". 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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