BMW unveils new i8 Roadster and Coupe with more electric range

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The wait is finally over for the latest version of BMW's hybrid sports vehicle.

Launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show alongside the facelifted i8 Coupé, the new i8 Roadster benefits from the same updates given to its hardtop sibling for the mid-cycle makeover but adds the much coveted open-top driving element. 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. BMW claims that the battery provides up to 53km and 55km of pure electric range for the Roadster and Coupe respectively.

Getting back to the main attraction here, the i8 two-seat Roadster has an electrically-operated targa-style fabric top that can perform the open or close trick in under 16 seconds, at speeds of up to 50km/h.

The Roadster's trick is a new roof structure which stows automatically under a panel between the buttresses, all in around 15 seconds at up to 30mph.

The hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive set-up sees the petrol engine driving the rear wheels while the electric motor does its business upfront.

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2019 BMW i8 Roadster: This Is It, With Slightly More Horsepower and Range

The new i8 features an aluminium body supporting a carbon fibre reinforced passenger cell and under the skin the i8's electronics have been given a boost with battery capacity increased by 14Ah to 34Ah.

Just a touch more than three years after it first hit the market in Germany, we found BMW's once revolutionary i8 hybrid to be in a rather tight spot.

Both models sport an updated powertrain system, whose electric bit now delivers a 12 horsepower increase in peak output to 143 horsepower. BMW is putting the 0-60 miles per hour time of the Coupe and Roadster at 4.2/4.4 seconds, respectively.

Electric-only range is up to 18 miles - a gain of 3 miles. However, the Coupe retains hatchback cargo space and rear seats, while the Roadster only offers two seats.

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. A Tera World Copper interior trim featuring premium cloth and leather upholstery in an Amido/E-Copper color scheme is new and exclusive to the Roadster. Mpg has also been improved to 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, although these numbers are always notoriously hard to replicate in the real world, unless you charge frequently and mainly undertake short journeys.

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