BMW i8 Roadster adds open-top thrills to Munich's plug-in sports auto

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The Roadster wasn't the only i8-related development BMW unveiled in LA; since the i8 Coupe was introduced, electrification technology has evolved, and it benefits from the implements that have gone into the Roadster.

The 2018 i8 siblings share an upgraded drivetrain with electric motor power up to 141bhp from 129bhp. BMW has been teasing this model for quite some time, but we finally get the chance to see it uncovered. The soft-top can be stowed back in a cavity behind the seats in a perpendicular position.

More precisely, the new i8 Roadster comes with an electric soft top that opens in under 16 seconds at up to 31 miles per hour, folding away in three segments stacked into a flattened Z.

That, according to BMW, is enough to get you from zero to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds in the case of the Roadster, with the Coupe taking 4.4s, and remember that the i8 is a lot lighter than BMW's regular cars, thanks largely to its carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell construction.

A boost of power to 369 horsepower means zero-to-100 km/h times now dwell in 4.6-second area for the Roadster, and around 4.4 for the coupe.

Under the ever-present sunny skies of Los Angeles, BMW unveiled a more scintillating variant of one of its sexiest cars: the 2019 i8 Roadster.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster rear view on road top down
Is it just us or does this thing look angry from the rear

Improved efficiency measures give the BMW i8 an expected MPGe of 70 and BMW believes that the Roadster will retain that same fuel efficiency.

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.

Inside, the cabin gets an updated steering wheel, a multifunction instrument display and an 8.8-inch freestanding touch screen.

With the eDrive mode engaged, you can now travel at up to 120 km/h purely on the electric batteries, but range, while improved, is still just over 50 km (33 miles). The 2019 i8 still uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-three that makes 228 hp and 236 lb-ft. And like the coupe, the i8 Roadster boasts upward-swinging "gullwing" doors that further emphasize this a sports auto as not just another innovative vehicle, but rather art on wheels.

It sure looks tempting in this new hue, called E-Copper. Exclusive 20 inch wheel designs are also available, weighing 2.2 lbs less than the previous BMW i8.

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