This week, BMW proudly presented the production i8 roadster at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The company spent a great deal of time and money designing and fine-tuning the model, and conducting a lengthy campaign to keep it percolating in automotive news, so they’re making a lot of noise about the variant now that it’s finally here.
But the car is able to speak for itself. Fuel-efficient, quick, nimble-looking, and possessed of some of the most enchanting lines of not just any BMW, but any open-top speedster generally, the model variation is a very refined vision.
BMW revealed an updated i8 coupe along with the roadster, and, between the two, a tough call without buying both. The i8 design lends itself neatly to the cowling on the roadster, though, and the classic look may win the day for many customers.
The roadster doesn’t need a great deal of extra rigidity, and the resulting weight gain of open-top designs of the past; like the coupe, it makes use of a carbon fiber and plastic core. So, the launch performance numbers of the two cars are quite close: the roadster gains only two-tenths of a second, coming in at 4.6 seconds to 60. The electric top may be raised or lowered at up to 31 MPH; the cloth quietly and quickly vanishes into the back of the car.
In unveiling the roadster and improved coupe, BMW took the opportunity to detail changes to the battery pack, as well. With 34 ampere hours as opposed to the 20 of the outgoing pack, and 11.6 kWh as opposed to the 7.1 detailed by the company when the car was teased last summer, the i8 models now produce 141 HP battery-only, and an all-E range of 18 miles. Together with the 228 HP turbo engine, the car can reach a top speed of 155 MPH.
BMW isn’t talking price for the U.S. market just yet. But, a base of around $150K+ is a good guess. We’ll know more as the company gears up for deliveries this winter.