BMW premiered the all-new i8 Roadster at the L.A Auto show the other day. The Roadster will be joined in showrooms by the mid-life update of the i8 Coupé. The i8 Roadster's party piece is a fabric soft-top which stows into a perpendicular position in the rear when opened, therefore taking up very little space.
The three segments of the roof fold vertically in a Z-shape, leaving an additional 100 litres of storage space between the roof box and the seats, on top of the 88 litres of cargo space in the rear compartment.
The fabric soft-top has an all-electric operation that allows the roof to open or closes in an almost silent hush -say BMW - within 16 seconds and while traveling at up to 31mph.
BMW used innovative a new 3D printing process for the aluminum elements connecting the roof with the body of the car. The geometric form is not possible using conventional casting techniques.
An updated version of the i8’s lithium-ion battery sees the cell capacity increase from 20 to 34Ah. All of which means more power, more power, more power, technically speaking a 12hp increase to 143hp.
The improved battery technology means the i8 Roadster can cover up to 33 miles with zero emissions in all-electric mode.
The i8's electric motor propels the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. The end result is a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system.
The i8’s combustion engine has also undergone further improvements. The turbocharged three-cylinder produces 231hp from its displacement of just 1.5-litres, plus peak torque of 320Nm.
BMW will provide plenty of optional extras and personalisation options. The new i8 Roadster goes on sale in January 2018, prices start from £124,730 OTR.