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BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

After a steady drip feed of teasers, leaks and spy shots, BMW has officially unveiled the i8 Roadster, along with an updated i8 Coupe. Its cell capacity has risen from a previous 20 Ah to 34 Ah, with energy capacity increasing from 7.1 kWh to 11.6 kWh.

MOTOR will report BMW i8 Coupe and Roadster Australian availability and pricing when it is confirmed by BMW Australia.

The new i8 Roadster model is basically a chop-top version of the i8 Coupe with the rear seats removed in order to make way for the folding rooftop and its mechanism.

Both the coupe (grey pictured above and below) and the new roadster version (orange pictured above and below) are equipped with the same powertrain, but their form factors result in slightly different performance. Thanks to an improved high-voltage battery the i8 can now cover a claimed 55km on electric power alone, although you'd be lucky to get even close to that in real world driving.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster
2019 BMW i8 Roadster Enlarge

The hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive set-up sees the petrol engine driving the rear wheels while the electric motor does its business upfront. This means 0-60 miles per hour (0-92 k/h) times of 4.2 seconds for the Coupe and 4.4 seconds for the Roadster, BMW says. Unlike the i8 coupe, which is a 2+2, the Roadster is strictly a two-seater.

"The higher percentage [of sales] will be in the roadster, definitely", said Robert Irlinger, head of BMW i. The 2018 BMW i8 coupe starts at $146,395. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine is still present putting out 230bhp. Power to the rear wheels continues to be transmitted through a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the electric motor on the front axle uses a 2-speed gearbox. The new 20-inch alloy wheels that come with the auto shave off 1kg each over the previous seen on the vehicle. The new E-Copper finish and the striking Donington Gray shade have also been added to the range. Badging on the rear (B) pillars will indicate Coupe or Roadster according to the model chosen.

The new BMW i8 Roadster and titivated i8 Coupe will go on sale in the United Kingdom early in 2018. 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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