After being premiered at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December of 2017, the order books for the new i8 Roadster opened in January and it might just be one of the most delightful, futuristic and realistically priced supercars on the market.
The convertible model uses a high-quality all-season fabric roof, layered with powerful sound deadening which can be fully retracted in just 15 seconds while the car is moving at up to 31mph. Impressively, BMW says that the roof opening and closing movements will happen almost silently.
The beauty of using a folding soft-top roof means that it can be stowed away easily without eating into too far into the luggage space. In fact the i8’s roof doesn’t live in the boot, instead, it stores itself vertically behind the front seats and in front of the rear bulkhead.
With the introduction of the roadster comes a mid-life update to the Coupe, which has been on sale since 2014. So what else is new?
Well, the i8 will still use the same 3-cylinder petrol engine which will be pushing out 228 bhp, but now the battery has increased from 20 aH to 34 aH. This will enable the Coupe to cover 34 miles on electric-only power and the Roadster to cover 33. More exciting than that though is the 14 horsepower increase in both models. This, combined with the petrol engine, means a total output of 374 bhp and 0-62 times of 4.4 seconds for the Coupe and 4.6 for the Roadster.
Interestingly, it’s also worth noting that although the i8 Coupe still has a 2+2, 4 seater layout, the Roadster is strictly only a 2 seater because the rear seats are removed to house the folded roof as well as provide an extra 98 litres of storage space.
Of course, there are stylistic changes. There are new carbon and ceramic trim options for both the interior and exterior. The i8 will now also come with an ‘Air Shutter’ flap on the bonnet which opens and closes depending on cooling requirements and aerodynamic demands. This is technology which is now commonplace in supercars twice the price of the i8.
These are hybrids, remember? So there’s one stat from this futuristic sports car that sets itself apart from anything else on the market… the fuel efficiency. The i8 is now more economical than ever and in the Coupe, you can achieve a ridiculous 149.8 mpg, while in the Roadster BMW have quoted up to 134.5 mpg.
So, the prices. The i8 Coupe starts from £112,735 and the Roadster from £124,735.