BMW i8 Roadster revealed with 369bhp

BMW has unveiled the definitive production version of the i8 Roadster 2017 Los Angeles motor show. The long-awaited two-seater will be sold alongside an updated version of the ” two-plus-two i8 coupe in the UK early next year, with an update of 369bhp plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.

The arrival of the i8 Roadster comes more than five years after it was initially presented as a concept at the 2012 Beijing motor show and two years since most production-based concept was unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The long gestation period has led to the first open-top model of BMW’s fledgeling I brand to adopt a new roof structure. Automatically, he hides beneath a panel embedded in the two buttresses at the rear of the cabin at the push of a button.

The roof, which consists of a large fabric panel and built-in head rail, is claimed to open in just 15 seconds at speeds up to 31mph.

To accommodate the new roof, BMW has changed the windshield, providing a framework strengthened and beefed-up quarter windows. The rear window, which doubles as a wind deflector, is also modified, and can be closed or opened independently of the roof.

Other style changes over the course of the facelifted i8 coupe which are on sale simultaneously with the i8 Roadster at the beginning of 2018 are the removal of the rear side windows. They are replaced by new black panels overlaid with aluminum-look trim engraved with the word “Roadster’.

The liftback hatchback, the i8 coupe also makes way for a long engine hood on the new i8 Roadster.

BMW says are inherent to the structural integrity of the i8’s carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum structure helped minimize the weight gain for the new Roadster, which is claimed to tip the scales at only 60kg on the facelifted coupe 1594kg.

Inside, the two-plus-two configuration of the i8 coupe is avoided in favour of a two-seat layout for the i8 Roadster, which has a claimed 92-litres of oddment space in the three cubby holes integrated into the rear bulkhead.

The earlier design of the dashboard has also been slightly updated for the i8 Roadster and facelifted i8 coupe, with the latest version of BMW’s iDrive system provides a touch control on a free-standing 8.8-inch monitor or a helicopter control via a knob on the center console, with among other subtle changes.

BMW has also confirmed its new open-top I-mark model receives newly designed seats, an optional head-up display of the unit as well as a range of new finish options, including carbon-fiber trim elements of the dashboard and the ceramic controls within the centre console.

The power of the new i8 Roadster and facelifted i8 coupe comes from the new version of the plug-in gasoline-electrical hybrid transmission used by the coupe – the architecture LifeDrive as it is labeled by BMW.

It uses a mid-mounted version of the BMW turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine packed behind the cab in combination with an electric motor mounted within the front axle assembly in a set-up that can eventually provide the traction before running on the electric motor or four-wheel drive with the petrol engine and electric motor work together.

The combustion engine continues to develop the same 228bhp and 236lb ft of torque as the existing unit, with drive channelled through a six-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels. The electric motor, however, has been upgraded with an additional 12bhp, the increase of its power reserves to 141bhp, which is delivered with the same 184lb ft of torque today i8 cut through a two-speed gearbox to the front wheels.

In total, there is a combined 369bhp theoretical and a maximum torque loading of 420lb ft, even if the latter is continuously regulated depends on the grip and traction levels. Five different driving modes are available: comfort, sport and eco drive-mode hybrid and the comfort and eco drive in all-electric mode.

BMW claims a 0-62mph time of 4.6 for the new i8 Roadster, with the new i8 coupe is time to upgrade to 4.4 seconds, both have a limited top speed of 155 mph.

Support the evolution of the kinematic chain is a revised lithium-ion battery. Its ability of cells has increased from a previous 20Ah for 34Ah, with a energy capacity increase of 7.1 kWh 11.6 kWh. BMW claims the new battery provides a range of 33 km for the i8 Roadster and 34 km for the facelifted i8 coupe-wheel drive in electric mode up to a speed limit of 75 mph on the European test cycle.

Also new is BMW’s latest 360° electric charging of the system. In combination with the latest evolution of the German manufacturer, I have the charging station provides 7.2 kW of charge and claimed 80% of the state of charge of the i8 Roadster and facelifted i8 Coupe in less than three hours.

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