After the i8 Coupé, the Bavarian manufacturer included the open alternative i8 Roadster. Let’s dive into its review.
Ecological operation is a long-term theme for the Bavarian brand, which also demonstrates the masterful styling of the i8 Roadster with plug-in hybrid drive. When you hear the term roadster, it is clear that you can remove the canvas roof, which after pushing the button, travels into the bowels of the car in 15 seconds. That can happen at a speed of 50 km/h. Therefore, if the first raindrops begin to fall, the driver may not stop entirely and retract the roof while driving slower.
Jewelry of Design
The stylistics of the vehicle can be described without hesitation as futuristic and considerably timeless. The low-lying car impressed us with the low and wide-spaced kidneys in the front, which suggest who is behind its production. They are followed by wide-extended headlights, which can, for an extra charge, use the laser technology for illumination. There is a dynamically modeled bumper; its structure is partly highlighted by black-tinted surfaces, also used on other parts of the body.
20-inch wheel rims are fitted in low-profile tires with 45 as its profile number, which further fits into the wider-extended fenders. The low side profile gracefully blends into the back, which is adorned with rear lights with eye-catching graphics, the rear bumper visually matches the diversity of the front. The making of the vehicle was based on lightweight construction with LifeDrive architecture – it includes Drive (aluminum chassis) and Life (crew compartments of ultra-light and stable carbon). Both modules are weight-optimized. The body looks literally like a magnet for the eyes. We could see that from the reactions of the random audience.
When the front door is folded up, a two-seater compartment opens, which is not easily accessible. You have to overcome wide thresholds, and the seating position is low. After an action requiring some agility, you get into an exemplary shaped pair of seats with electric control and memory function. If you are a driver, you can enjoy a futuristic cockpit. The interior is, of course, designed in a premium style, which means it is wrapped in leather with decorative stitches and other excellent materials.
Again, we can use the natural collocation “cockpit is driver-oriented” – the center of the dashboard is turned towards the driver, and all controls are intuitively, clearly arranged, and within easy reach. Information and settings for each function are shown on display in the center of the dashboard; with the iDrive control system. LED interior lighting is also exciting; you can experience an excellent illumination in the darkness. The color of the door, dashboard, center console, and steering wheel contours can be changed in three colors (EfficientDynamics Blue, Amber Yellow, and White). After the sky appears above your head (the roof is controlled by activating the button, which is unconventionally placed in the center armrest), the 154-liter luggage compartment is reduced to 88 l. To store things can be used space behind the seats, which has a capacity of 100 liters, the disadvantage is the lousy access to it.
The plug-in hybrid drive consists of an electric motor (105 kW/143 hp; 250 Nm) coupled with a two-speed automatic transmission (located at the front) and a 1.5-liter gasoline 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo (170 kW/231 hp/5800-6000) rpm; 320 Nm/3700 rpm) working with a 6-speed automatic transmission (located in the center). The overall system has 275 kW (374 hp) and 570 Nm. The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 11.6 kWh; the actual purely electric range is 40 km, according to the manufacturer. Combined fuel consumption is 2.1 l/100 km; for electric mode, it is 14.5 kWh/100 km (manufacturer’s data). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes place in 4.6 seconds, and the maximum speed is electronically limited – to 250 km/h and electric mode to 120 km/h.
This exceptional sports car rides the way it looks – great. It excels not only in outstanding dynamics, but the adaptive chassis also provides above-average stability. It also features a low center of gravity, a rigid body structure (reinforcements and wide sills), and stable curb weight for an open vehicle (also thanks to the use of 1,595 kg carbon). The Roadster tilts very little in curves, providing above-average stability, and adds a captivating backdrop to the performance of the combustion engine. Anatomically-shaped seats in the sharp bends effectively support the driver’s and passenger’s bodies. In addition, fun and emotional ride with a retractable roof offer the crew a sense of freedom and close contact with the surrounding environment.
The chassis is relatively comfortable for a sports car. Standard navigation features 8.8-inch Professional navigation with clear graphics and fast response. Since it is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, it should be emphasized that real consumption depends on the rechargeable battery and the driving profile. The manufacturer states the total maximum range of 440 km, all in all; it is a vehicle that is also capable of serving very effectively. To do so, the owner has to prepare 158,900 euros, to this price can be added several additional features, which can bring even a richly-equipped vehicle to absolute technological excellence.
Text: Peter Stano, photo: BMW