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LA Auto Show: BMW i8 finally takes its top off

LA Auto Show: BMW i8 finally takes its top off

Teased numerous times in the past, BMW has finally undressed the new topless i8 at the LA Auto Show.

When the roof is opened, the i8 Roadster's rear window rises by 1.9 inches into what BMW calls a "comfort" position to reduce wind turbulence.

This equates to a slightly slower 0-100kmh time of 4.6 seconds (i8 Coupe 4.5 secs). The battery pack is upgraded to 11.6kWh over 7.1kWh. However, the mid-mounted 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine is unchanged, save for a new particulate filter reducing NOx emissions in preparation of incoming real world economy testing.

Zero to 62 miles per hour for the Roadster happens in a claimed 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 155 miles per hour. The combined power output of 369bhp and 570Nm is channelled through a six-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels. This allows some extra storage space behind the driver and passenger, a space nearly equal to the actual trunk's 4.7 cubic foot (133 liters) offering at 3.5 cubic feet (99 liters).




The Roadster gains 60kg over the coupe, mainly on account of the reworked chassis that allows for the folding roof.

Going into more detail, the aluminium parts of the hood have been made using 3D printing, in order to obtain greater precision, while BMW claims to have worked thoroughly on the insulation - both thermal and acoustic. This allows for geometric parts that can not be cast for the optimum strength and size to be used, balancing weight with rigidity requirements. The new E-Copper finish and the striking Donington Gray shade have also been added to the range. A set of 20-inch BMW lightweight alloy wheels is standard, with four other options available in the same size.

The refreshed i8 and new i8 Roadster should be hitting Canadian dealerships around spring 2018. Badging on the rear (B) pillars will indicate Coupe or Roadster according to the model chosen.

Getting back to the main attraction here, the i8 two-seat Roadster has an electrically-operated targa-style fabric top that can perform the open or close trick in under 16 seconds, at speeds of up to 50km/h. Mpg has also been improved to 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, although these numbers are always notoriously hard to replicate in the real world, unless you charge frequently and mainly undertake short journeys.

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