The BMW i8 Roadster comes as part of an LCI mid-cycle refresh of the i8 and is the most exciting and interesting part of the new refresh. With the top down, the new BMW i8 Roadster looks fantastic. The BMW i8 was always a fascinating looking car, one that brought styling from the future to our current roads. But the i8 Roadster is even more eye-catching.
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Replacing the fixed hardtop roof of the BMW i8 Coupe is an electrically-operated soft-top roof on the i8 Roadster. The heavily soundproofed, all-season soft-top roof can open and close in less than 16 seconds, which is actually quite quick. It can also operate on the move, up to 31 mph, so getting caught in the rain won’t be so bad. But it isn’t just a plain old soft-top roof. BMW has put some proper thought into it.
As the roof opens, the rear window raises 1.9 inches, to reduce wind noise, and that window can be electronically controlled to go up or down as the driver wishes. Also, the aluminum elements that connect the roof to the body have been 3D-printed, marking a first for BMW.
Another added benefit of the i8 Roadster is the extra noise. Since the i8’s original debut, fans have been quite surprised with how good the little 1.5 liter turbo-triple engine sounds.
The engine remains unchanged, so it still makes 228 hp and 236 lb-ft and is mated to an electric motor and six-speed automatic gearbox, powering the rear wheels. While an electric motor powers the front wheels, thus giving it real-time torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. The latter motor makes 141 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, up only slightly from the non-LCI BMW i8. So 0-60 mph happens in about the same 4.2 seconds. BMW claims there’s no performance penalty with the Roadster.