Since its introduction in 2014, the i8 has been the world's best selling hybrid sports vehicle, but for the 2019 model year the i8 gets some nice performance upgrades and the addition of the roadster. The use of composite materials and aluminum helps bring the Roadster's weight to 3,515 pounds, or 132 pounds more than the 2019 i8 coupe. BMW claims that the battery provides up to 53km and 55km of pure electric range for the Roadster and Coupe respectively. Of course this is the first major change over the coupe as this mechanical roof means the i8 Roadster has no back seats. The automaker claims the number of driving situations where the electric motor is exclusively responsible for powering the auto has been significantly increased, with the combustion engine only being brought into play when accelerating hard. The all-electric roof opens and closes at a touch of a button in 15 seconds and while travelling at up to 50kmph. A mid-mounted turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine works in conjunction with a front-axle mounted electric motor.
What the i8 Roadster does offer over the coupe in performance is range.
The 2019 i8 Roadster doesn't look that different from the coupe, other than the different top and the fact that the two rear seats have been removed.
The biggest upgrade to the powertrain is a new 11.6 kWh battery pack up from the 7 kWh battery pack of the original BMW i8 and a slightly more powerful motor (12 more hp). That puts total output up to 369 horsepower, with acceleration to 60 miles per hour of 4.2 seconds for the Coupe and 4.4 seconds for the Roadster, numbers that BMW describes as "preliminary". That almost doubles the amount of storage available in the Roadster versus the i8 Coupe.
The lengthy gestation period has seen the first open-top model from BMW's fledgling i brand adopt a re-engineered roof structure. To make the soft top possible, BMW had to come up with a new design for its frameless gullwing doors, which are made of CFRP, just like the entire windscreen frame and body panels including the side skirts with their extra-large cross-sections. Both cars are electronically limited to 155 miles per hour.
Both can be ordered with Tera World Copper interior trim, which is new to the i8, and features a cloth and leather upholstery combination in a two-tone (Amido/E-Copper) colour scheme.