2019 BMW i8 PHEV Sportscar Goes Topless, i8 Coupe Gets Upgraded (With Video)

New topless version, upgraded hybrid powertrain on both coupe and roadster versions.

The BMW i8, along with the i3, is BMW’s latest product for sustainably motoring. The i3 as we already know is purely electric, while the i8 is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sportscar. With the i3 having received a facelift this year, it was just expected for the i8 to also receive one, as these two cars are now 2 years old.

The formula for the i8 is still the same. A radical looking 2-door sportscar that’s built in a carbon fiber and aluminum tub that boasts user friendly tech that’s just as normal to operate as in any normal BMW. The roadster’s obvious change is the loss of the roof, which now uses a fabric top that folds into a Z-shape inside the trunk. The folding operation can be done in just 13 seconds at speeds of up to 50 kph. Due to the roof of course needing those complex electronic folding mechanism, the rear seats have been lost in the process, as if those torture chambers were useful anyway.

Inside, the BMW i8, both in coupe and roadster versions, receive very minor changes, including the seats, and perhaps the most noticeable is BMW iDrive 6, which now incorporates the new iDrive version with its touchscreen. As usual, many customizations can be made to the interior, such as a leather wrapped dashboard and ceramic elements for the car’s buttons and controls.

The BMW i8’s powertrain is upgraded for both the coupe and roadster versions. The PHEV eDrive system is still powered by a 1.5 liter 3-cylinder petrol engine from the Mini Cooper, which is now boosted to 231 hp and 228 hp. The electric motor is also boosted to 143 hp from 131 hp, and the combined output of the engine and electric motors are now at 374 hp, up from 337 hp. This enables the i8 coupe to sprint from 0-100 kph in 4.2 seconds, and 4.4 seconds for the roadster, up to an electronically limited top speed of 250 kph. With a bigger 11.6 kwh battery compared to 7.1 kwh in the previous version, it can now travel in pure electricity up to 100 kph compared to 70 kph in the previous version, and up to a distance of 55 km in a single charge.

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