Los Angeles Auto Show: Drop-Top BMW i8 Roadster Revealed

  • Los Angeles Auto Show: Drop-Top BMW i8 Roadster Revealed

Los Angeles Auto Show: Drop-Top BMW i8 Roadster Revealed

They're finally here: the BMW i8 Roadster and the BMW i8 Coupe, both updated and hitting the market next year.

It uses a mid-mounted version of BMW's turbocharged 1.5L 3-cyl. gasoline engine packaged behind the cabin in combination with an electric motor housed within the front axle assembly in a set-up that conceivably can provide either front-wheel drive running on the electric motor or all-wheel drive with the gasoline engine and electric motor working together.

"The higher percentage [of sales] will be in the roadster, definitely", said Robert Irlinger, head of BMW i.

BMW has yet to reveal the two cars' curb weights, but they can't be that far apart, as the chunkier i8 is just 0.2 seconds slower to 60 miles per hour, and only gets one mile less on battery power than the i8 Coupe. The battery pack is upgraded to 11.6kWh over 7.1kWh. Revisions to the three-cylinder turbo petrol engine powering the rears take power to 227bhp and torque to 236lb ft, and total system output is up by 15bhp at 369bhp.

A new E-Copper finish has been added, as has a Donington Grey metallic for both the Coupe and the Roadster. A six-speed automatic transmission runs the engine's power to the rear wheels while the electric motor has a two-speed automatic gearbox turning the front wheels.

After just a couple of years since the BMW i8's release, the model is getting a refresh and a new convertible variant. The Roadster's fuel consumption suffers more next to the coupe, but then it still records 134.5mpg on the combined cycle. A new aluminum 3D printing process was used to make lightweight parts for the Roadster's roof. This allows for geometric parts that can not be cast for the optimum strength and size to be used, balancing weight with rigidity requirements. On the outside, a slightly lower hood hump now includes a so-called "air-shutter", and there are new sets of wheels available, with the optional 20-inch being a tad lighter than before.

While the 2019 i8 Coupe keeps its 2+2 configuration, the new BMW i8 Roadster is a 2-seater, meant for the enjoyment of its driver and one lucky passenger. Badging on the rear (B) pillars will indicate Coupe or Roadster according to the model chosen.

The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster features an electric soft top that can open in less than 16 seconds and operate at speeds up to 31 miles per hour.