New BMW i8 Roadster revealed alongside updated i8 Coupe

Along with a folding fabric roof, the new BMW i8 Roadster also benefits from the same subtle mechanical upgrades as the Coupe.

BMW has officially revealed a long-awaited soft-top variant of its i8 hybrid supercar, which joins an upgraded version of the standard Coupe. Both cars benefit from gentle visual and mechanical upgrades, including an improved plug-in drivetrain with a bigger EV range and higher system power outputs too.

We’ve already seen teased images of the Roadster, but this is the first time we’ve had any official details about the new package. For starters, the thanks to the i8’s light, strong and rigid carbonfibre tub construction the soft top i8 is only 60kg heavier than the Coupe at 1595kg. BMW has also been able to retain the Coupe’s distinctive dihedral doors for the Roadster, designing new frameless units made from carbonfibre and overlaid with an aluminium skin.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

> Click here for our review of the current BMW i8

The Roadster’s folding roof is a compact fabric unit, slipping underneath a new interpretation of the i8 Coupe’s floating rear buttresses when stowed. Other aesthetic changes include two new colour options, laser headlights and redesigned 20-inch alloy wheels. Also included is new technology such as BMW’s controversial ‘display key’ as well as the latest iDrive infotainment system. All of these updates, apart from the fabric roof, will also feature on the Coupe

BMW has also upgraded the battery pack for both new models, raising capacity to 11.6kWh up from the previous i8’s 7.1kWh. Electric-only range is up nearly 50 per cent says BMW, with up to 34 miles achievable. Efficiency improvements in the batteries also liberate an extra 12bhp from the electric motor, which powers the front wheels.  All these tweaks result in a combined power output of 374bhp. However, the mid-mounted 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine is unchanged, save for a new particulate filter reducing NOx emissions in preparation of incoming real world economy testing.

These powertrain improvements yield a 0-62mph time of 4.4 secs in the Coupe, with the slightly heavier Roadster taking a further 0.2 secs. Mpg has also been improved to 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, although these numbers are always notoriously difficult to replicate in the real world, unless you charge frequently and mainly undertake short journeys.

Due to go on sale from January next year, the new i8 will be priced at £112,730 and £124,730 in Coupe and Roadster forms. We have been a little rough on the i8 for lacking the absolute focus of rivals like the Porsche 911, but will it make a little more sense without a roof? We’ll have to wait and see.

Recommended

Faster lap times promised by Garmin Catalyst real-time coaching tool
Technology

Faster lap times promised by Garmin Catalyst real-time coaching tool

3 Sep 2020
Mercedes-AMG One hypercar shown in new teaser video 
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG One hypercar shown in new teaser video 

18 Aug 2020
What is a hybrid? Hybrid tech and how it’s used in performance cars
Technology

What is a hybrid? Hybrid tech and how it’s used in performance cars

1 May 2020
Alpine A110 Sports X takes on winter, and wins
Alpine

Alpine A110 Sports X takes on winter, and wins

29 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs
Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB4: review, history and specs

1959 was a watershed year for Aston Martin. As the DBR1 swept all before it on the track, the first customers were taking deliveries of the all-new DB…
11 Oct 2020
SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020