2019 BMW i8 Roadster
When BMW launched the i8 in 2013 as a production model derived from a 2009 concept car, some feared that it might be bad age. The form was a bit too outrageous to be considered timeless, and there was the risk that advances in battery technology could make the powertrain obsolete sooner rather than later. Wrong on both counts. Almost five years later, the i8 looks still fresh. For 2019 (BMW skipped the 2018 model year), the Coupe got one of the most modest facelifts ever, and it is now accompanied by this roadster version that we have been waiting for since it was announced in the late 2015. The Lithium-ion battery pack benefits from more efficient cells, packing 11.6 kwh energy in the same space that originally stored only 7.1 kwh.
Visually, the i8 roadster is even more striking than the Coupe, and that’s something to say. By handing out with the rudimentary rear seats of the hard roof model, the ragtop features an even lower roofline that emphasizes the Supercar proportions. The roadster comes with a Power-folding fabric top, two silver decor elements on the B-pillar, and a new air shutter on the front hood, which also carries over to the refreshed Coupe. This design was changed because the previous element led a warm flow of air to the cab; It did not matter on the Coupe, but could make things uncomfortable in the roadster when the top is down.
There is a new lightweight 20-inch wheel option, and BMW is launching two additional colors. The new copper tone is a wink at the electrification; BMW like to call the i8 an electric car, even though it is really a plug-in hybrid.
The ingress and egress by the revised dihedral doors is quite easy, especially with the roof out of the way, and you have plenty of space once you establish yourself in the cockpit. In this variant, the area where the COUPE has rear seats is dedicated to storage, making the roadster spacious enough for a weekend trip for two – especially when the small trunk at the back of the car is also factored in. The door windows can still not be completely reduced.
If there is more space than the I8’s Supercar appearance promises, the inverse holds true for performance. The 2019 i8s remain equipped with a Turbo 1.5-liter inline-three and an electric motor amidships, plus a front-axle electric motor. The output of the engine is unchanged, while the stronger battery allows electric output to rise by 12 hp, raising total system power from 357 horses to 369. BMW claims that the sprint to 60 mph takes 4.4 seconds, which can seem fast until you compare the times of similar two-seater prices. At $164,295, the roadster is $15,800 more expensive than the Coupe to begin with.
While the extra boost of the more powerful battery and motor is not easily noticed in routine driving, the added range makes a bit of a difference. Range in EV mode has risen from 15 to 18 miles according to BMW, and it is possible to drive in electric mode at up to 75 mph. If you like the electric Driving experience, the 2019 i8 gives you more of that slippery glide, which is with the front engine only. Selecting the standard hybrid mode removes range anxiety, and there is still a sports mode to optimize performance. In The sports setting, the car emits an artificial growl while the motor is running at all times, with the electric motor being an instant burst of torque when you want it. The electrically assisted gasoline engine is covered by a six-speed automatic, while the front engine operates through its own two-speed automatic
In its early years, the all-wheel-drive i8 was tuned to certain understeer, but the treatment has undergone constant fine-tuning, and the 2019 model feels more neutral. It is now much nicer to throw around on narrow roads. The weight penalty of the roadster over the Coupe is only 132 pounds by the BMW bill, with the roof mechanism mass compensated partly by the rear seats. The brake feels remains fairly artificial, and the transition between regenerative and friction modes makes it difficult to modulate retardation when coming to a full stop. The light weighted, electrically supported power steering is sufficiently direct and precise, but still lacks a lot of feeling.
BMW has kept changes to a minimum, undoubtedly because there is virtually no competition for the i8. The much faster Acura NSX Hybrid is more expensive, and it does not play on the green aspect as much as the i8 (the NSX does not Plug-in). Other supercars are conventionally propelled until you get into hypercar territory.
Really, the biggest distinction here is that you now get a convertible that plays the look-at-me attributes of a design that still looks futuristic. The i8 has longer legs than we expected.
Vehicle type: Mid-engine, front and mid-motor, 4-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible
Base price: $164,295
Engine and mid engine: turbocharger and intercooled DOHC 12-valve 1.5-liter inline-3 + permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor; Combined output, 228 hp, 236 lb-ft; 11.6-KWh Lithium-ion battery pack
Front Engine: Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 141 hp, 184 lb-ft
Maximum system output: 369 hp, 420 lb-ft
Transmissions: Front: 2-Speed Automatic; Mid: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 110.2 in length: 184.9 in width: 76.5 in height: 50.7 in passenger volume: 55 cu ft TRUNK Volume: 2 cu ft curb weight (C/D EST): 3600 lb
Performance (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 4.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.7 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph
EPA Fuel Economy (C/D EST):
Combined/city/highway: 28/27/28 MPG
Combined gasoline + Electricity: 78 MPGe
EV Range: 18 miles