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30 November 2017, 01:00 | Ricardo Garza
2019 BMW i8 Roadster: This Is It, With Slightly More Horsepower and Range
The 2019 BMW i8 is a great auto made better, available in roadster form for the first time.
The BMW i8 Roadster features a fully electric fabric roof, which takes just 15 seconds to fold or open at speeds up to 30mph; when the roof is stowed, the car's rear window raises slightly to reduce air turbulence in the cabin, while the roof and its mechanism are created to allow for some storage space behind the front seats. "If you're playing in that segment with the very expensive cars, it's always [that] you have to have the newest one".
BMW has made the i8 hybrid supercar into a really, really cool i8 Roadster with a new design, more power, and a better battery. In the USA, i8 sales are down 72 percent through the first 10 months of 2017, with just 364 sold.
Before we look at the new Roadster, let's jump into the guts of this newly-updated i8.
An even weight distribution, low center of gravity and gullwing doors add to the sportiness of the hybrid vehicles, which are set to go on sale in the Spring of 2018. Of course this is the first major change over the coupe as this mechanical roof means the i8 Roadster has no back seats. A new aluminum 3D printing process was used to make lightweight parts for the Roadster's roof.
The electric motor, however, is upgraded with an additional 12 hp (increasing its reserves to 141 hp), which is delivered together with the same 184 lb. -ft. "For us, electric mobility is the new normal", said Klaus Frohlich, member of the board of management at BMW AG and development during the BMW press conference. The rear window, which doubles as a wind deflector, also is altered, allowing it to be closed or opened separately from the roof. Now rated at 105kW of power and 250Nm of torque, the electric motor drives the front wheels. A larger 11.6kWh battery replaces the original 7.1kWh unit.
Electric-only range is up to 18 miles - a gain of 3 miles. Top speed remains limited at 155 miles per hour in true German fashion.
I've always been a fan of the somewhat controversial design of the BMW i8 and I still am with this new version and especially with what they did with the new 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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