BMW Introduces i8 Hybrid Sports Car in Los Angeles

By Paul Joseph

BMW has unveiled the eagerly awaited Roadster version of its i8 hybrid sports car alongside the updated coupe variant at the 2017 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show, which kicked off last week.

The convertible i8 boasts more power, an increased electric driving range, and new interior trims, as a part of the mid-life facelift and update of the i8 model by the famous German automaker.

BMW has also fitted the i8 with a new lithium-ion battery pack with an increased 11.6-kilowatt-hour capacity. The bigger battery allows for a 12hp hike in peak power from the electric system bringing its output to 141hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.

There is no change to the 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-three that makes 228hp and 236 lb-ft. As well as adding power, the i8’s battery improvements also enable a longer all-electric range, with the new i8 able to travel up to 18 miles on electric-only mode, an increase of 15 miles compared with the old battery.

The i8 Roadster can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and the heavier i8 Roadster is said to hit that speed in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph for both cars.

Other notable features include a fabric top which is claimed to open in just 15 seconds at speeds up to 31mph. BMW also says the inherent structural integrity of the i8’s carbon fibre-reinforced plastic and aluminium structure has helped to minimise weight gain for the new Roadster. The drop-top i8 is claimed to tip the scales at just 132lbs over the coupé at 3513 lbs.

The BMW i8 Roadster and coupe both go on sale next spring, although pricing is yet to be announced. Both cars will be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show until 10 December.

By Paul Joseph