Munich sure took its sweet time, but last week at the 2017 Los Angeles motor show BMW finally revealed the new i8 Roadster for its world premiere, before sales officially begin from January next year.
That means that BMW’s hybrid mid-engined sportscar is now available in two body variants alongside the Coupé which has been its us since 2014.
The 2+2 roadster features an electrically-operated soft-top that opens or closes on the move at speeds of up to 50kph within 16 seconds, so you’re quick to be seen. Once the roof is stowed away, the rear window raises automatically by 30mm to reduce air turbulence and keep your hair straight, and you still get 188 liters of cargo capacity split into two compartments.
For 2018, BMW’s engineers also fiddled with the drivetrain to eke out more miles from the company’s electric eDrive technology. Compared to before the motor has also gone through improvements to develop 12bhp more than before, for a 143bhp total, and the car can now run for 53km on electric power alone in zero-emissions mode.
Alongside all the watts, you also get the regular 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine on-board worth another 231bhp and 320Nm of torque. That means the 2018 models top out at 250kph and the i8 Roadster posts acceleration times from 0-100kph of 4.6 seconds. The 2018 i8 Coupé is a bit quicker, with a sprint time of 4.4 seconds.
Otherwise BMW’s added new colours to the palette for the 2018 models, including E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic, and the cars get exclusive 20in wheel designs in a W-spoke layout. Besides the standard leather interior, customers can also spec the newly-available optional Accaro cabin trim featuring a combination of cloth and leather in a two tone colour scheme.
In the US at least, BMW says the 2018 i8 range will start form around Dh550 for the i8 Coupé and Dh610,000 for the new i8 Roadster.