Soft-top super-hybrid: 2018 BMW i8 Roadster revealed | CAR Magazine

Soft-top super-hybrid: 2018 BMW i8 Roadster revealed

Published: 29 November 2017 Updated: 30 November 2017

► See the new BMW i8 Roadster
► A soft-top sister to the i8 Coupe
► Priced £124k, on sale Jan 2018

We’ve seen multiple concept cars and spied prototypes testing, but now the BMW i8 Roadster production car is finally here.

A fabric-roofed convertible sibling to the established i8 coupe, the BMW i8 Roadster goes on sale in January 2018, from £124,730 in the UK.

It’s still got the butterfly doors! Hooray

The up-and-out doors have indeed survived the de-roofing process, and sport frameless windows.

The coupe’s antler-like rear buttresses have been retained too, and look even more dramatic on the Roadster with a floating appearance.

BMW i8 Roadster

While the coupe is a 2+2, the Roadster does away with the rear seats to make space for the folding canvas roof assembly, which stows vertically in a folded Z shape. It powers shut in 16sec, while the car’s travelling at up to 31mph.

BMW says there’s still 100 litres of storage space between the stowed roof and the seats. As per the coupe, there’s an 88-litre boot in the tail.

A glass rear window can be raised and lowered by the driver.

BMW i8 Roadster

What else is new in i8 world?

It’s been four years since the i8 coupe launched, and the convertible launches in tandem with a batch of mid-life updates across the range for 2018.

An upgraded battery enables a greater electric range, new alloy wheel designs weigh around 1kg less than before and there are new paint choices, including the eye-catching ‘E-Copper’ metallic pictured.

The updated coupe will start at £112,730 in the UK from January 2018.

Any powertrain changes?

Business as usual: mid-mounted 228bhp three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine for the rear wheels, nose-mounted electric motor for the fronts, as per the i8 coupe.

Official 0-62mph time is two tenths slower than the lighter i8 coupe, at 4.6sec.

BMW i8 Roadster

The battery cells have been upgraded from 20Ah to 34Ah, allowing the motor’s power output to climb to the equivalent of 141bhp. That enables drivers to spend more time in pure EV mode, with around 33 miles of range from a full charge, or 34 in the coupe (the i8 is a plug-in hybrid).

The top speed in electric mode has risen too, to 75mph.

What’s the mpg?

According to the much-debated EU test cycle, 149.8mpg for the coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster. Petrol CO2 emissions are rated at 42 and 46g/km respectively.

Expect deliveries in time for summer.

Our full A-Z preview guide to the Los Angeles auto show

By James Taylor

Former features editor for CAR, occasional racer