Another intoxicating chapter is about to be written in the success story of the BMW i8, as the updated version of the world’s highest-selling plug-in hybrid sports car since its launch in 2014 is joined by the new i8 Roadster in the lineup.
The convertible two-seater with electrically operated soft-top adds a whole new sensation of freedom to the combination of locally emission-free mobility and high-calibre performance. It opens the door to virtually silent motoring with zero CO2 emissions, bringing an extra edge of purity to the experience of sheer driving pleasure.
Like the updated i8 Coupe, the new BMW i8 Roadster is based on the LifeDrive vehicle architecture with aluminium chassis and carbon-fibre-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 i8 Roadster carries over the BMW i design language into another vehicle concept, and is awash with individual highlights that radiate elegance and fire the emotions. 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 centre of gravity. The body’s dynamic wedge shape is best appreciated when viewing the two-seater in profile.
When opened, the 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 litres 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 travelling at up to 50km/h. Dropping down the roof raises the rear window by around 30 millimetres into a comfort position, where it can serve as a draught stop.
The familiar lightweight design measures used for previous BMW i models have been meticulously adapted to the specific requirements of the i8 Roadster. Rigorously further developed BMW eDrive technology and the optimised operating strategy of the intelligent energy management lead to a significant increase in the number of driving situations where the electric motor can be solely responsible for powering the car.
Underpinning this new level of electric driving experience is an updated version of the lithium-ion battery developed for the i8. The high-voltage unit is located centrally in the car’s underbody. Its cell capacity is up from 20 Ah to 34 Ah and gross energy capacity has risen from 7.1 to 11.6 kWh (net: 9.4 kWh). All of which means the electric motor has more energy at its disposal.
The cell configuration allows a 12hp increase in peak output to 143hp, lacing quick sprints on pure-electric power with an even more vivid streak of dynamism.
Check out Singapore’s BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition and Protonic Frozen Black Edition.