The New BMW i8 Roadster Might Be The Most Beautiful Hybrid Ever Made
Say what you will about the BMW i8. It's too slow, it's got too little power, it doesn't have a good enough electric range, it's too expensive, it's not a 911. And pretty much all those things are true. But one thing you can't really say is that it's ugly, or at the very least, boring. And with the new i8 Roadster, which just debuted (about three years too late), they've gone and made it even better.
First, the boring stuff. Just like the last i8, which has gone pretty much unchanged since it debuted in 2014, it's got a tiny turbocharged three-cylinder engine driving the back wheels and a pair of electric motors driving the front ones. This is either a sign that BMW pretty much nailed it on the first try, or they're out of ideas and are coasting on the i8's reputation to keep sales going. Surprisingly, I think it's the former.
The battery pack is now a bit larger, bringing the electric-only range to an incredible 18 miles, a whopping 50% improvement over the previous car's 12 miles. That's almost enough to get you to the other side of town and back. It's also got a slight bump in power to 374 bhp, which is nearly as much as an A45 AMG, a compact hatchback that came out in 2013.
But all that rather underwhelming technical stuff goes right out the window when you look at the new i8 Roadster; the convertible proportions are exactly the touch of drama the i8 needed so badly after looking exactly the same for nearly half a decade. The roof can be raised or lowered in 16 seconds at up to 31 mph, which is very convenient if you're stuck in traffic or on a slow street when the rain breaks out.
The Roadster starts at about 12 grand more than the slightly updated i8 Coupe that also debuted alongside it, but for those looks (and increased storage space with the removal of the vestigial rear seats), it's probably worth it.