BMW i8 Roadster Review (BMW)
Revealed in the state where convertibles are a way of life, the BMW i8 Roadster couldn’t pick a better location to show its chiseled stature and astute figure. Copper body sparkling at the BMW 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show revealed not only the convertible qualities of one of the most futuristic cars out there but also the facelift for the entire i8 lineup. That is beside the point, however, as all major news is about the Roadster. We all waited for quite some time to get the Roadster i8, so BMW had a tough job on its hands to deliver.
DEC 21, 2018

Is it better looking than the i8 Coupe? It definitely seems so.

In the sea of Roadsters, the BMW i8 makes for a rather curiously styled one. It has many different features compared to what we have on other Roadsters.

  • It's soft-top (yes, soft top), that folds at the back, vertically in Z shape fashion
  • It has more a powerful hybrid setup compared to the previous coupe
  • It is only a touch heavier compared with the coupe
  • It has 2.2 square feet of cargo space behind the seats with the top up
  • It does not have rear seats (after all, that top has to go somewhere)
  • It can travel further only on electricity compared to the pre-redesigned coupe

All of this obviously sounds quite appealing, yet the sheer design of the car with the top down definitely takes the roadster prospects to another level. One cannot fail to notice those fine-looking humps behind the headrests. Some of the racing cars sport this design for improved aerodynamics and the i8, despite not being a race car (by any stretch of the imagination), definitely looks astounding with it.

Now, BMW did a much more important job with it. The new i8 Roadster (and the coupe) now feature improved propulsion system. While the 231hp three-cylinder remained the same, it received improved particulate filter for better emission control. As for the electric motor, BMW managed to increase the power to 143hp, increasing the combined output to 374hp. To optimize BMW eDrive technology, BMW had to replace batteries. Now they have better power density with the energy capacity increased from 7.1 to 11.6 kWh.


Electric-only range increased to 33 miles (34 miles for the coupe), while the maximum electric-only speed jumped to 65 mph (even 75 mph with the eDrive button pressed). Remember, the first model could do only 44 mph. Quite a jump. Actually, I can now imagine that the i8 Roadster would be quite capable of handling city tasks without ever using the internal combustion engine. Thus, the combined fuel efficiency rated at 112mpg.

Architecturally, the BMW i8 Roadster has not changed a lot compared with the Coupe. Carbon fiber core remained the same. It is a stiff piece of hardware which does not need any structural enhancements compared with what the Coupe handles. That is why the roof can fit so neatly in the place of the back seats barely taking any of the cargo space. More importantly, for some at least, opening and closing mechanism, as well as the roof itself, increased the weight of the contraption only by 132 pounds. That is next to nothing considering what a technological masterpiece the i8 Roadster really is.

And yes, the roof open-close dance can be executed at up to 31 mph and in only 15 seconds.


  • Accelerates from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds (4.4 seconds for the Coupe)
  • Top speed: 155 mph
  • Max Horsepower: 369 hp
  • 1.5 liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder

Emissions: average CO2 emissions are as low as 42g/km

The i8 Roadster is available with laser headlights, and pedestrian detection system.

Expect it to be $15,000 or so more expensive compared with the Coupe version.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster Review

Roof mechanism required such intricate pieces that BMW could only produce them by 3D printing. Not only do they look exceptionally well, but they are an integral part of the roof and closing mechanism.  Considering how futuristic the i8 Roadster is, featuring some 3D printed parts is only fitting.