When BMW launched the i8 a few years ago, we drove it and although the thoughts came together in the right direction. We still felt like it was a work in progress. A step in the right direction for sure but still not something that you could buy if it was going to be your only car. And after teasing us for almost a year, like BMW like to do, they’ve finally unveiled the new or facelifted (?) BMW i8 and the even more special i8 roadster. And BMW has done the sane thing and kept the i8 and the drop-top roadster without making any drastic changes to the way they look. Even the roadster is an extrapolation of the i8 existing design, although that in no way means that it doesn’t look stunning. The i8 might sound subtle and polar bear friendly but it looks like something out of a Sci-fi or mission impossible movie... Oh.. wait.
The big news is however under the new i8s skin, BMW has updated the battery system, and that means the two hybrid sports car twins now make an extraordinary 374 hp. Almost 20 more than the 357 on the previous i8. BMW have even tried to make it more practical in the sense that it can now go 52 kilometres in full EV mode on the roadster and 55 kilometres in the hardtop coupe. There’s also an eDrive button that allows the BMW to hit 120 kmph on pure electric power. The roadster will make the 100 kmph dash in 4.6 seconds and will top out at 250 kmph. The i8 coupe now does the same 100 kmph dash .2 seconds quicker than it’s drop-top sibling at 4.4 seconds and shares a top-speed of 250 kmph.
The drop-top gets an all-electric roof, that deploys in under 15 seconds and can do so while on the move up to 50 kmph, but it is about 60 kilos heavier than the hardtop, and this could affect real-time range once it does hit the road. Now I would be lying if I didn’t say that I expect more than a 20 hp bump on the new i8, but as we said the i8 project is a work in progress, and only through this real-world R&D can BMW ultimately inspire a range of properly powerful, and still practical hybrid sports cars. Until then we can all drool at the i8 roadster butterfly doors.