Published: Thu, November 30, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

BMW i8 Roadster and Coupe debut in LA

BMW i8 Roadster and Coupe debut in LA

BMW has revealed its facelifted i8 Coupe at the LA Motor Show, as well as debuting a new model, the BMW i8 Roadster.

Convertibles require more chassis strengthening than coupes, so the Roadster understandably is heavier - though we don't know by how much. In electric-only mode, the top speed is 120km/h, while the driving range is now up to 53km in the soft-top, and 55km in the coupe.

More precisely, the new i8 Roadster comes with an electric soft top that opens in under 16 seconds at up to 31 miles per hour, folding away in three segments stacked into a flattened Z. The automaker claims the number of driving situations where the electric motor is exclusively responsible for powering the auto has been significantly increased, with the combustion engine only being brought into play when accelerating hard.

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As before, the electric motor is mated to a 1.5-litre petrol engine which drives the rear wheels making the i8 all-wheel-drive with a six-speed steptronic automatic transmission. However, the Coupe retains hatchback cargo space and rear seats, while the Roadster only offers two seats.

Another change to the powertrain is the new lithium-ion battery that now boasts a cell capacity of 34Ah (up from 20Ah) and an energy capacity of 11.6kW (up from 7.1kW).

That means total system power is now 275 kW/374 hp, allowing the i8 Roadster to cover the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.6 seconds (0.2 seconds slower than the coupé).

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Electric-only range is up to 18 miles - a gain of 3 miles.

The BMW i8 has been on sale now since 2014.

BMW has not released any information about pricing for either the new roadster or the new version of the coupe, but the latter used to start at $135,000.

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Several adaptations had to be made, however, including the use of newly designed frameless gullwing doors made from CFRP with an aluminum outer shell, as well as the windscreen frame made entirely from CFRP.

Both can be ordered with Tera World Copper interior trim, which is new to the i8, and features a cloth and leather upholstery combination in a two-tone (Amido/E-Copper) colour scheme.

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It sure looks tempting in this new hue, called E-Copper.

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