Better late than never: The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster is finally here

2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

It's taken a few years, but BMW has finally released a Roadster version of its futuristic i8 sports vehicle and the new body style coincides with a few upgrades to the Coupe, including a more powerful drivetrain.

The BMW i8 Coupe can accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds, the new i8 roadster has a 0 to 62 miles per hour time of 4.6 seconds. In order to accommodate the Roadster's new folding roof mechanism, BMW has had to strengthen the car's bodywork, meaning it weighs 60kg more than the Coupe.

The new BMW i8 Roadster will be available from spring 2018 with pricing yet to be announced. Of course this is the first major change over the coupe as this mechanical roof means the i8 Roadster has no back seats. Pressing the eDrive button increases all-electric top speed to 120 km/h (75 mph).

The auto can switch from a coupe to a roadster in just 15 seconds and at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph). That's thanks, too, to a unique hybrid all-wheel-drive system in which the gas engine drives the rear wheels while an electric motor drives the fronts.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA
2018 BMW i8 Roadster adds open-top thrills to Munich's plug-in sports car

BMW made a decision to equip i8 Roadster with only two-seats in order to make more room for the vehicle's power-operated soft top. This allows for a 12-hp bump in peak power from the front electric motor, bringing its output to 141 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. And what Honda has cooked up is a proper supercar priced not a whole lot higher than an i8 Coupe. The difference we are talking about is the fact that the 2019 BMW i8 features a 2+2 seating arrangement while the i8 Roadster is a two-seater. The power bump comes from a significant boost in energy density, with cell capacity up from 20Ah to 34Ah. The 2019 i8 can travel 18 miles, up from 15 miles with the old battery.

The new BMW i8 makes a run to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, though BMW admits the Roadster is two tenths slower.

However, with the system working at full capacity, the performance is much more attractive - it accelerates to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and has a maximum (restricted) speed of 155mph. To make the soft top possible, BMW had to come up with a new design for its frameless gullwing doors, which are made of CFRP, just like the entire windscreen frame and body panels including the side skirts with their extra-large cross-sections.

BMW has also released two new paint finishes, E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic.

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