BMW i8 Roadster and Coupe debut in LA

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BMW unveiled the i8 Roadster on Wednesday, ahead of its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. While the Bavarians' halo sports vehicle still has the looks and the driving characteristics that made it special at its debut, technology has certainly moved on. A tiny, turbocharged aluminum rattlebox of an engine powered the i8's rear wheels and an electric motor churned the front for all-wheel drive excellence.

The cabin has been updated similar to the i8 Coupe.

As for the exterior innovations, there are new air intakes that BMW says are there to improve aerodynamics. The power bump comes from a significant boost in energy density, with cell capacity up from 20Ah to 34Ah.

BMW i8 Roadster 03 830x553
The New BMW i8 Coupe And Roadster Now Have Longer Range And 374 HP

The electric motor, however, is upgraded with an additional 12 hp (increasing its reserves to 141 hp), which is delivered together with the same 184 lb. -ft. (320 Nm) of torque as the existing unit, with drive channeled through a 6-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.

Interestingly enough, it stows in a perpendicular position behind the passengers. The stowage solution means that the i8 Roadster actually benefits from increased storage space. For reference, an i8 Coupe starts at $144,395 today.

The roof, which consists of a large fabric-covered panel and integrated header rails, is claimed to open in just 15 seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour (50 km/h), providing the i8 Roadster with full open-air properties. This allows for geometric parts that can not be cast for the optimum strength and size to be used, balancing weight with rigidity requirements.

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The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster and Coupe go on sale in spring of 2018. A Tera World Copper interior trim featuring premium cloth and leather upholstery in an Amido/E-Copper color scheme is new and exclusive to the Roadster. Badging on the rear (B) pillars will indicate Coupe or Roadster according to the model chosen.

Augmenting the i8's high-tech nature, BMW adds its suite of driver assistance features, from adaptive cruise control, which automatically matches speeds with slower traffic ahead, to a head-up display, projecting useful driving information on the lower edge of the windshield.

Combined maximum power increases to 374bhp, while electric-only mode manages just under 20 miles of range up to a maximum speed of around 70mph.

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