BMW i8 Roadster full on frontal shot
BMW i8 Roadster: crack on under the skies with open air thrills
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  • All-electric roof matches the car for speed – it’s the fastest in the BMW range and opens and closes within 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph
  • Further developed BMW eDrive technology enables longer range
  • 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds – yet sub-50g/km CO2
  • Company directors can take advantage of 13% company car tax banding
  • Optional non-dazzling laser headlights with a high-beam range of 600 metres
  • On sale now with prices starting from £124,735 OTR

WOW! Who wouldn’t want some of this? Open top motoring, whizz-bang acceleration, and electric motivation for enjoying the countryside in silence.

Step forward BMW’s new i8 Roadster.

The new BMW i8 Roadster joins the recently updated BMW i8 Coupe.

It uses the same powerplant as the i8 Coupe. That’s a combination of a three-cylinder 1.5 engine with a 34Ah capacity lithium-ion battery to provide a range of hybrid drive options.

The uprated electric battery provides 143hp; the turbo three-cylinder petrol engine 231hp; giving a total when deployed together of 374hp. Total torque is 320Nm (so strap down your hats…)

So how does the BMW i8 Roadster’s hybrid system work?

The TwinPower Turbo engine feeds the rear wheels through a six-speed Steptronic transmission.

The electric motor drives the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. The end result is a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system that gives greatly enhanced traction.

But here’s where it gets clever.

To enhance low emissions running, the car runs where possible on battery power alone. When acceleration is required, the turbo unit cuts in to assist.

BMW says the new i8 Roadster can cover 33 miles in zero emission mode.

Claimed fuel consumption is 141.2mpg; CO2 emissions are 46g/km. which means the BMW i8 Roadster qualifies for full 100% first year allowances if your company wishes to purchase.

BMW i8 Roadster interior
Frameless windows enhance the i8 Roadster’s interior

Electric roof operation

Of course, the reason you’re reading this is that you fancy a bit of wind in the hair exhilaration.

Good news here is that the all-electric operation ensures the roof opens or closes within 15 seconds and while travelling at up to 31mph. BMW claims that the i8 Roadster has the fastest opening roof across all the company’s models. Fitting, we think.

The i8 Roadster features a fabric soft-top which stows into a perpendicular position in the rear when opened. Better packaging and day to day practicality are the benefits of such a set up.

The three segments of the roof fold vertically in a Z-shape, liberating an additional 100 litres of storage capacity between the roof box and the seats. This is in addition to the 88 litres of cargo space in the rear compartment.

Opening the roof raises the rear window automatically by around 30mm, reducing air turbulence inside the cabin and ensuring open-top driving with minimal disturbance.

Smart looks for new i8 Roadster

Increased colour choices are available: these include E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic. Both are combined with accents in Frozen Grey metallic.

The i8 Roadster is equipped with exclusive 20-inch light-alloy wheels in a W-spoke design. Each wheel weighs around one kilogramme less than the lightest wheels previously available for the i8.

BMW i8 Roadster with new laser light option
See clearly – up to 600m range with new laser light option

Non-dazzling laser headlights

An optional extra non-dazzling BMW Laserlights with BMW Selective Beam. These have a high-beam range of up to 600 metres, double that of the already powerful full-LED headlights fitted as standard on the i8 Coupé and Roadster.

Another optional extra available for both models is an acoustic pedestrian warning, which makes it easier for pedestrians to notice the vehicle when driving at low speeds in all-electric mode by generating a distinctive identifying sound similar to the noise from a turbine.

The acoustic pedestrian warning is active up to 18mph – at the sort of speeds where tyre noise and wind noise are barely audible.

To keep your i8 Roadster charged up to meet the open air, the latest BMW i Wallbox allows the high-voltage battery to be recharged at a rate of up to 3.6 kW. The result is  charging can be completed in under three hours.

The BMW i8 Roadster is on sale now with prices starting from £124,735 OTR.

BMW i8 Roadster glory shot from rear
BMW i8 Roadster – the open road could be all yours

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