30 November, 2017
To accommodate the new roof, BMW has modified the windshield, providing it with a strengthened frame and beefed up quarter windows. That's thanks, too, to a unique hybrid all-wheel-drive system in which the gas engine drives the rear wheels while an electric motor drives the fronts. The soft-top roof, made up of a large fabric panel and integrated header rails, is claimed to open in just 15 seconds at speeds of up to 50kph. The i8 Roadster is set to go on sale in the United Kingdom in January, with a price of £124,730, while the updated i8 Coupe will cost £12,000 less.
The long talked about roadster features an electric folding soft-top that's stored in a space-saving vertical position. The i8 roadster features a fabric soft top that can open or close in less than 16 seconds, at speeds up to 31 miles per hour.
Perhaps more importantly though, the battery pack's capacity is up from 20 to 34 Ah, with the gross energy capacity going from 7.1 to 11.6 kilowatt hours. Opening the roof raises the rear window automatically by around 1.9 inches, but the driver can also adjust the height at the touch of a button. All-electric range has been increased, with BMW expecting the i8 to travel up to 18 miles on electricity alone, up from the current i8's 14 mile pure EV range. That allows for a 9-kW/12-hp increase of the electric motor's peak output, which is now 105 kW (143 hp).
The 2019 i8 Roadster doesn't look that different from the coupe, other than the different top and the fact that the two rear seats have been removed. 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.
Convertibles require more chassis strengthening than coupes, so the Roadster understandably is heavier - though we don't know by how much. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine is still present putting out 230bhp. For reference, an i8 Coupe starts at $144,395 today.
Both cars are powered by a reworked version of the previous petrol-electric hybrid system. The Giga and Halo interior trim options remain available and a new Tera World Copper has been added.More news: Sprint is adding free Hulu service to its unlimited plan