Apparently, it’s all about the roof.
Opening or closing in 15 seconds, BMW has completely ditched what was left of the original i8’s two rear seats for a soft top that makes their new i8 Roadster’s “rear pillars stand out even more than they did before,” explains The Verge.
The i8 first made its coupé debut way back in 2009, and has been able to impress with every release.
Now fans of the convertible who have been waiting an age to see a roadster version of the super hybrid can die happy: at the LA Motor Show, BMW finally took the covers off the i8 Roadster:
BMW says the new Coupe and Roadster are basically the same dimensions as each other, with the former standing just two millimeters [sic] taller than the latter. But something about that drop top just makes the i8 Roadster’s overall design look more compact and complete to me. It is about 132 pounds (60kg) heavier, though.
Whichever new i8 you might prefer, they will both offer a modest performance boost over the original. According to BMW, the new i8s put out 17 more horsepower — 374 hp to be exact — than their predecessor.
BMW says the gains in the new version are coming from even better output from the electric motor, combined with higher battery capacity, which should also improve the all-electric range by about 10 miles to 33 overall. But it’s still a small bump in the grand scheme of performance car specs, one that reads more on paper like a rounding error than an improvement worth clamoring about.
Everything else is pretty much the same on these new i8s, too, which is a bit of a shame. The front end’s half-menacing look hasn’t changed, and the interior is decorated with the same knobs, buttons, screens, and center console as the original.
Here’s the thing: will anyone care when they’re behind the wheel? Probably not. I always found the old i8 to be plenty fun to drive, thanks to how seamlessly the 3-cylinder engine works in concert with the zippy onboard electric motor. And if and when I slide into the driver’s seat of the new Roadster, it surely won’t be the first thing on my mind.
Unfortunately, BMW didn’t say exactly when the new i8s will be available, or how much the rides will cost. But if you’re a dreamer and believe, it could be yours one day.
I just hope orange isn’t the only option.
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