- Published On: 4 May 2018
- 5 min read
The convertible i8 is a lot nicer in many ways.
When launched, BMW’s i8 was the world’s first carbon fibre-made and hybrid sportscar. It was a car that most definitely took the game ahead in terms of technology. It is powered by a small three-cylinder motor with additional torque provided by an electric motor. For a sportscar, it was a strong performer and also offered decent levels of grip.
On the outside
After over 5 years, the car is back but as a Roadster. This means, this car will enable you to relish open-top driving while also being environmentally friendly. It does all of this while looking like a brilliant mid-engine performance machine.
The overall design of the car has removed unchanged; it still has sporty proportions with good bodywork. Cosmetic changes to this variant of the car includes a redesigned engine cover and doors. The headrest on this variant is different as well. The roof operates electronically which means there aren’t any hydraulics involved. Further, the top opens up in just 15 seconds which is a decent time.
The German carmaker has taken good measures so that the soft-top doesn’t buffet at high speeds. The roof uses a band of carbon-fibre which helps it remain rigid and less noisy. Surprisingly, the Roadster continues to have the butterfly doors seen in the coupe variant. Along with the doors has come the thick A-pillar which results to a large blind spot.
On the inside
In terms of interior, the car remains similar to the original i8. The car comes with a large amount of carbon fibre with a modern looking dashboard. The doors feel super light when you attempt to shut them and you get the feeling of being in something from the future. Replacing the coupe’s rear seats is storage space on this model. The seats are more supportive and have the memory function.
When you have the roof closed, there isn’t much difference on the inside when compared to the i8. This is especially the case when you are driving at lower speeds – almost no sound creeps into the cabin. One must note that it is extremely difficult to get in and get out of the car. You need to bend your back to get into the seat; this is owing to the butterfly doors.
How does it drive?
It has been 6 years since we first saw the i8 and since then there have been many advancements made in terms engine and suspension. The power is now up to a total of 374hp while still using the same three-cylinder turbo motor with electrical assist. The car also has better claimed performance times when compared to the original i8 launched back in 2018. The battery is also larger and makes 11.6 KWh instead of 7.1 on the hardtop model.
When you put the car in Comfort mode, the three-cylinder turbo motor the sportscar uses the electric motors. What is really nice is how the combustion engine runs in harmony with electric motors. Once you shift into Sport mode, the i8 changes significantly – an-already fast car becomes a really quick car.
On a twisty section of road, you will also feel that the car provides a lot more grip thanks to the four-wheel-drive system. The combustion motor sends most of its power to the rear wheels while the electric motor sends most of it to the front. Increasing traction are the low-slung batteries which add weight to the lower half of the sportcar. This engine revs freely but makes a disconnected engine sound.
Should I buy one?
The new i8 Roadster provides the best of both worlds. You can drive it in a purely electric mode where the plug-in hybrid has a decent range of 50km – this also gives you the ability to drive sedately with the top down. The suspension on this model is also more comfortable and the additional performance makes the car considerably more dynamic. The i8 Roadster is expected to be launched at Rs 2.8 crore and is the only convertible sportscar that is environmentally friendly.