The BMW i8 has performed the role of sports car of the future with extraordinary success since the day it was launched. The progressively designed 2+2-seater doubles up as an eye-catching object of desire and a technological pioneer. Indeed, the i8 has been the world’s highest-selling hybrid sports car since it first hit the roads in 2014 and has collected an array of awards in recognition of its visionary design and trailblazing vehicle concept.
The BMW i8’s plug-in hybrid drive system has won the International Engine of the Year Award three years in succession (2015 – 2017) and paved the way for the constantly expanding number of plug-in hybrid models from the BMW and MINI brands. Now the allure of sustainable driving pleasure is poised to enter another new dimension. The new BMW i8 Roadster takes the i8’s combination of locally emission-free mobility and high-caliber performance and sprinkles the drop-top driving experience into the mix. The Roadster exudes a whole new sensation of freedom, opening the door to virtually silent motoring with zero CO2 emissions and bringing an extra edge of purity to open-air motoring.
It will be joined in showrooms by the new version of the BMW i8 Coupe. Both models are based on the LifeDrive vehicle architecture designed for BMW i cars. The aluminum Drive module brings together the powertrain, high-voltage battery, suspension, crash system and structural functions, while the Life module takes the form of a passenger cell hewn from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
And so the BMW i8 Roadster also benefits from a low-weight construction, complete with low center of gravity and even weight distribution. The aerodynamically optimized exterior – with model- specific gullwing doors and a soft-top roof that also displays great visual lightness – is a fine exponent of the signature BMW i design language. The result is a two-seater boasting a distinctive and elegantly stretched silhouette, and delivering an immediate promise of instantaneous power ready to be unleashed.
The BMW i8 Roadster: two-seater with electrically operated soft-top roof and additional on-board stowage space. Passengers inside the new BMW i8 Roadster will look up to find either the open sky or a high-quality, all-season fabric soft-top with additional soundproofing. All-electric operation ensures the roof opens or closes in an almost silent hush, within 15 seconds and while travelling at up to 50 km/h, if required. The broad, wide-opening lid guarantees an emotionally-engaging driving experience shaped in no small part by the sun and on-rushing air.
The BMW i8 Roadster is alone among its rivals in offering owners a fabric soft-top which stows away into a perpendicular position in the rear when opened and therefore takes up very little space. The three segments of the roof fold vertically in a Z. And between the roof box and the seats for the driver and front passenger is around 100 liters of additional storage space. Together with the load area in the rear, which can accommodate 88 liters of cargo, the rear compartment helps to ensure the open-top version of the plug-in hybrid sports car is also as well equipped as possible for everyday use and trips away.
Opening the roof raises the rear window automatically by around 30 millimeters into a comfort position. This allows it to mimic the effect of a conventional draught stop in reducing air turbulence inside the cabin and ensuring those on board can enjoy the pleasure of open-top driving pleasure in comfort. The driver can adjust the height of the rear window at the touch of a button and thus control the impact of the inflowing air as desired.
Intelligent lightweight design and innovative production technology also play a key role in the construction of the soft-top. For example, aluminum elements connecting the roof mechanism with the body of the new BMW i8 Roadster are produced in a new 3D printing process. This manufacturing method for aluminum components breaks new ground in the automotive industry and allows the topologically optimized bracings to be produced in a geometric form, which would not be possible using conventional casting techniques and ensures an optimum balance between component rigidity and weight.