BMW's just dropped its i8's top (and added more power)

2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

After a steady drip feed of teasers, leaks and spy shots, BMW has officially unveiled the i8 Roadster, along with an updated i8 Coupe. The lithium-ion battery cell capacity is up from 20 to 34 Ah. If you really want to make sure your new i8 sticks out from the pack, you have to go with the new Roadster.

The world's highest selling plug-in hybrid sports vehicle has had a haircut, subbing the standard roof for a soft-top design. Efficiency improvements in the batteries also liberate an extra 12bhp from the electric motor, which powers the front wheels.

BMW says that they have made improvements to their carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic technology that found its way into the new models.

When the roof is opened, the i8 Roadster's rear window rises by 1.9 inches into what BMW calls a "comfort" position to reduce wind turbulence. Neither is the acceleration, though the 0-60 miles per hour times now stand at 4.2 seconds for the Coupe and 4.4 seconds for the roadster; 155 miles per hour remains the limited top speed.

The Roadster gains 60kg over the coupe, mainly on account of the reworked chassis that allows for the folding roof. The 2018 BMW i8 coupe starts at $146,395. However, the mid-mounted 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine is unchanged, save for a new particulate filter reducing NOx emissions in preparation of incoming real world economy testing. The combined power output of 369bhp and 570Nm is channelled through a six-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.

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A boost of power to 369 horsepower means zero-to-100 km/h times now dwell in 4.6-second area for the Roadster, and around 4.4 for the coupe.

Components on the new i8 Roadster's convertible roof mechanism are made out of aluminum using a new 3D printing process.

Other than two new colors (E-Copper and Donnington Grey) and a badge behind the doors, the Coupe looks pretty much like its predecessor. On the outside, a slightly lower hood hump now includes a so-called "air-shutter", and there are new sets of wheels available, with the optional 20-inch being a tad lighter than before.

The interior of the 2019 BMW i8 sees design changes for infotainment and driver information screens.

Irlinger wouldn't reveal how BMW expects the mix to break down, but it is counting on the new roadster and face-lifted coupe to lift overall i8 sales significantly.

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