The world’s highest-selling plug-in hybrid sports car since its launch in 2014 its now joined by the new BMW i8 Roadster. The open-top two-seater with electrically operated soft-top adds a whole new sensation of freedom to the combination of locally emission-free mobility and high-caliber performance. It opens the door to virtually silent motoring with zero CO 2 emissions, bringing an extra edge of purity to the experience of open-top Sheer Driving Pleasure.
Like the new BMW i8 Coupe, the new BMW i8 Roadster is based on the LifeDrive vehicle architecture with aluminum chassis and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP ) passenger cell. The further optimised BMW eDrive technology employed in both models comprises a high – voltage battery with significantly expanded cell capacity and energy content, and an electric motor generating a higher peak output. The result is a noticeable increase in dynamic performance, operating range and the amount of driving possible using purely the electric drive system.
The proportions, lines and surface design mark out both the BMW i8 Coupe and BMW i8 Roadster as belonging to a new breed of sportscar. On an individual level, the BMW i8 Coupe stands out as an extremely sporty 2+2 seater, while the BMW i8 Roadster oozes all the freedom of open-top motoring for two. The two models sport “Coupe” or “Roadster” lettering respectively on their C – pillars. The choice of exterior paint finishes now includes the new E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic shades.
The soft-top roof has a visual lightness to go with its low physical weight and serves as a defining element of the silhouette in reinforcing the road-hugging impression made by the car’s low center of gravity. The body’s dynamic wedge shape can also be best appreciated when viewing the two-seater in profile.
When opened, the BMW i8 Roadster ’s broad roof retracts fully into the rear end. A unique mechanism allows the soft-top to be folded into a compact package and stowed away in a perpendicular position, creating around 100 liters of additional storage space behind the seats. The all-electric roof opens and closes very quietly in 15 seconds, a process which can be initiated while traveling at up to 31mph. Dropping down the roof raises the rear window by around 30 millimeters into a comfort position, where it can serve as a draught-stop.
The cars’ lithium-ion batteries have also seen a major revamp. The cell capacity of the high-voltage units (located centrally in the car’s underbody) is up from 20 to 34 ampere-hours and subsequently, the gross energy capacity has spiked from 7.1 to 11.6-kilowatt hours.
These cars are driven primarily by their electric motors, the combustion engine switching on automatically at high speeds and off again when consistent driving is maintained. Both models travel up to 74 mph on electric power alone. The total electric range of the new BMW i8 coupe: 55 kilometers (34 miles), the roadster: 53 kilometers (33 miles).
When the navigation system’s route guidance function is activated, the intelligent energy management ensures the electric motor is employed as extensively as possible and as judiciously as possible from an efficiency point of view. The system analyses the route in full and sets up the powertrain management to run on purely electric power, particularly over low-speed sections of the journey.
The equipment options available include a model – specific BMW Head-Up Display, the non-dazzling BMW Laserlight with BMW Selective Beam and acoustic pedestrian warning.
Both models are supplied with a mode 2 charging cable as standard that enables the high-voltage battery to be recharged from a standard domestic socket in under four-and-a-half hours. Hooking the vehicle up to a BMW i Wallbox allows charging to be performed at a rate of up to 3.6 kW and completed in under three hours. The BMW i Wallbox Connect makes it possible to utilize the globally unique BMW Digital Charging Service – the key to intelligent charging which either optimises cost efficiency or ensures preferential use of self – generated solar power.
These stunning tech machines will be unleashed at the 2017 LA Auto Show, which gets underway on December 1.
all images and video courtesy of BMW Group