Hi-Tech

BMW's i8 drops its top, gets more perk

BMW's i8 drops its top, gets more perk

"For us, electric mobility is the new normal", said Klaus Frohlich, member of the board of management at BMW AG and development during the BMW press conference.

It uses a mid-mounted version of BMW's turbocharged 1.5L 3-cyl. gasoline engine packaged behind the cabin in combination with an electric motor housed within the front axle assembly in a set-up that conceivably can provide either front-wheel drive running on the electric motor or all-wheel drive with the gasoline engine and electric motor working together. The soft top folding into a covered compartment that replaces the coupe's rear seats. The i8 Roadster is set to go on sale in the United Kingdom in January, with a price of £124,730, while the updated i8 Coupe will cost £12,000 less. In addition to opening and closing in less than 16 seconds, BMW says the i8 Roadster's insulated fabric roof can be operated at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. The fabric roof contains additional soundproofing, according to BMW, and is stowed in a perpendicular position in the rear to take up as little space as possible. BMW is also offering a new charging system through its 360 Electric program that can charge the i8 Coupe or Roadster to full in less than three hours.

Speaking of the battery, its capacity rises from 7.1 to 11.6kWh. The rear window doubles as a wind deflector can also be closed or opened independently without the roof.

For both the Coupe and Roadster, the new engine's total output is increased up to 369 horsepower when compared to the previous i8's powerplant. Efficiency improvements in the batteries also liberate an extra 12bhp from the electric motor, which powers the front wheels.

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While the 2019 i8 Coupe keeps its 2+2 configuration, the new BMW i8 Roadster is a 2-seater, meant for the enjoyment of its driver and one lucky passenger.

The i8 Coupe, which was also showcased at the 2017 LA Auto Show, also gets a facelift for 2018 along with an increase in power.

Top speed in both the coupe and roadster is 250km/h. The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster and coupe both go on sale next spring. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). Otherwise, the car's design will be familiar to current owners of the coupe - much of the changes to the Roadster are to its complex aluminium construction, to compensate for the loss of a rigid roof.

It sure looks tempting in this new hue, called E-Copper.

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