2019 BMW i8 coupe, new Roadster: larger battery, more range

There’s a new drop-top electric sports car in town.

Three years after the BMW i8 coupe began rolling off the assembly line in Leipzig, Germany, the Bavarian automaker is giving its alternative flagship a breath of fresh air by opening it up.

Revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new 2019 BMW i8 Roadster arrives five years after the debut of the i8 Concept Spyder. It loses its rear seats and gains 132 pounds of heft over the coupe in the process.

However, both coupe and convertible models receive a host of changes to extend range and boost performance, helping negate the Roadster’s weight penalty.

DON’T MISS: Long-delayed BMW i8 Spyder plug-in hybrid due in 2018

Aside from its powered soft-top and lack of rear thrones, the i8 Roadster sports frameless doors, a vertical rear window, a new engine cover, and new aerodynamic cowls to better channel air to the Roadster’s rear spoiler winglets.

BMW quotes a 16-second transformation time for the Roadster’s soft-top, which can be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 31 mph.

Additionally, the i8 Roadster receives a raft of changes beneath its skin to ensure performance is on par with the coupe.

Engineers gifted the convertible with a bespoke suspension and damping tune, modified its steering characteristics, firmed up its roll stabilization, and made steering more precise.

Thankfully, BMW wasn’t content with simply adding a new body style to the i8’s ranks.

The 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 receives minor tweaks to reduce engine noise. The small-displacement ICE is paired with a more powerful electric motor, which sees a 12 hp jump to 141 hp.

Together, the powertrain delivers a net system output of system output is now 369 horsepower, up from 362 previously, good for sprints to 60 mph of 4.2 seconds for the coupe and 4.4 seconds for the Roadster.

WATCH THIS: 2015 BMW i8 Video Road Test

With more power comes a greater demand for electricity, so BMW has upgraded the i8’s 7.1 kilowatt-hour battery to 11.6 kilowatt-hours. 

The improved battery storage increases the i8’s all electric range from 15 to 18 miles.

The 2019 BMW i8 reaches showrooms next spring. Pricing information will be announced closer to the market launch.


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