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LA Auto Show: BMW i8 finally takes its top off

LA Auto Show: BMW i8 finally takes its top off”

Reaching 60 miles per hour in the coupe takes 4.2 seconds, while the roadster is slightly slower at 4.4 seconds, but both models have an electronically limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. "For us, electric mobility is the new normal", said Klaus Frohlich, member of the board of management at BMW AG and development during the BMW press conference. A tiny, turbocharged aluminum rattlebox of an engine powered the i8's rear wheels and an electric motor churned the front for all-wheel drive excellence.

From an aesthetic point of view, it retains numerous familiar features of the i8 Coupe, which also takes advantage of the California motor show to undergo a bit of a refresh itself.

Speaking of which, the all-new BMW i8 Roadster is only about 60 kg (130 pounds) heavier than the Coupe, despite having a reinforced CFRP chassis and an electrically retractable soft top. The lithium-ion battery cell capacity is up from 20 to 34 Ah. 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.

This battery boosting has meant that more power can be directed to the electric motor, bumping it by 12 horsepower to 141 horses in all (105 kW) and 184 pound-feet (249 Nm) of torque.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster, Updated i8 Coupe Debut in LA

Like the i8 Coupe - first launched in 2014 - the i8 Roadster has dihedral doors which open upwards and outwards but comes with a fabric roof that can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph opening and closing in 16 seconds at the touch of a button.

For now the vehicle has merely been unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show - there's still no information as to when the new i8 Roadster goes on sale in the United Kingdom, or what it might cost. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). The 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine is still present putting out 230bhp. And like the coupe, the i8 Roadster boasts upward-swinging "gullwing" doors that further emphasize this a sports auto as not just another innovative vehicle, but rather art on wheels.

Lastly, BMW has also confirmed the i8 Roadster will have a slightly different suspension/steering tune, the Munich-based manufacturer telling us this allows the Roadster to retain the trademark handling and performance qualities. On pure electric the new system can run up to 18 miles on pure electric over the previous 15. The Giga and Halo interior trim options remain available and a new Tera World Copper has been added.

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