Nov 30, 2017 | By Julia

Car geeks rejoice! BMW has just unveiled their brand new BMW i8 Roadster at the LA Auto Show, and it’s already turning heads. Designed as a follow up to the manufacturer’s successful i8 hybrid supercar, the new i8 Roadster features an upgraded design, more power, and an overall improved battery. New colour options, copper upholstery, and tons of 3D printed metal are among the biggest attention-grabbers of the i8 Roadster, which BMW has debuted alongside its new and improved i8 Coupé.

While the i8 Roadster may be utterly awe-inspiring, its launch should come as no surprise to those who have followed the success of BMW’s original i8 model. The luxury car manufacturer first started selling this acclaimed hybrid vehicle back in 2014, as a 2+2 coupe made of carbon fiber. A sleek, concept-oriented car with an advanced powertrain design, BMW’s i8 quickly proved to be a success. The model’s turbocharged aluminum combustion engine, which power the rear wheels, alongside the electric motor complete with high-voltage battery for the front, rapidly made the i8 the best-selling hybrid sports car in the world.

Now, BMW is keen to continue pushing that success with the introduction of the two-seat soft top i8 Roadster, featuring some serious design refurbishments as well as tweaks to the battery and motor. While there’s certainly lots to get excited about here, what gets us the most revved up in the new model is BMW’s inclusion of 3D printed aluminum components in the i8 Roadster’s soft top. In order to keep the soft top mechanism nice and compact, BMW decided to go big, producing geometric bracing parts that are topologically optimized, and getting seriously innovative in the manufacturing process. The results speak for themselves: the new i8 Roadster’s soft-top folds vertically in a Z geometry, effectively leaving 92 litres of cargo space when stowed into the “roof box” behind the driver. And that’s on top of the 88 litre boot space behind the mid-engine sports car.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The i8 Roadster boasts a new lithium-ion battery pack developed specifically for this hybrid model, building on BMW’s success with i8 plug-ins. Tucked into the car’s underbody, this powerful battery gives the Roadster a low center of gravity as well as an increased cell capacity of 34 Ah (up from the previous model’s 20 Ah). Energy capacity is also boosted from 7.1kWh to 11.6 kWh, totalling a net energy capacity of 9.4 usable kWh.

All that boils down to the fact that more power can be funneled directly to the i8’s electric motor, boosting the model with 141 horsepower (105 kW) and 184 pound-feed (249 Nm) of torque. According to BMW, that means a 0-60 mph (0-92 km/h) time of 4.4 seconds. Top speed peaks at 155 mph (249 km/h), with all-electric mode lasting up to about 18 miles.

The engine core remains the same: an acclaimed three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5 litre that produces a whopping 228 horsepower (170 kW) and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) or torque. The six-speed automatic transmission feeds power directly to the rear wheels, while the electric motor features a two-speed automatic gearbox for the front. Efficiency is certainly improved, however, as the new Roadster has an expected MPGe of 70, rounding out to a very commendable fuel efficiency.

The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe will enter global showrooms beginning in the second quarter of 2018, in an array of new colour schemes including E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic, both with metallic accents in Frozen Grey.

 

 

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