BMW i8 Roadster
We’ve probably seen a few dozen BMW i8 hybrids in the wild, which, having driven one, is a real shame. The i8 is fast, feels as nailed to the road as just about any car in its class, and is obviously distinctive looking. But supercar buyers simply don’t know enough about the car, and given the $143,000 price tag, that means most would-be customers who might want something kind of like the i8 take the safe bet of an Audi R8. The tech inlcined get a Tesla Model S.
Hoping to attract a bit more attention to their highly inventive car that’s in many ways far more high tech than anything else on the road, BMW’s cut the roof off the i8, to create a very cool looking roadster. The roof folds up in under 16 seconds (and can be done at low speeds, not just when parked), and because the chassis was already very stiff, BMW says they were able to make the cabin opening extra large without compromising performance.
The drivetrain of both the Roadster and hardtop is now a little quicker, too, up to 369hp (a modest, 12hp bump), that drops 0-60 time to 4.2 seconds for the hard top and 4.4 seconds for the convertible. BMW says you can drive either car up to 18 miles in EV-only mode, and claim that the real improvement in the electric side of the drivetrain is to allow electric-only propulsion a lot more frequently. And in turn, by making a droptop, their “sell” is that you’ll experience totally noise-free open-top cruising, obviously something you cannot get from a Prius.
Bonus: One space to watch, is that BMW used 3D printed aluminum for some of the car’s components. While we’ve seen this for iterative prototyping by carmakers before for development, and on the track, particularly in carbon fiber, this is a first in aluminum for street production.
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