Home Automobiles Steve’s First Look At BMW’s i8 Hybrid Left Him Wanting One

Steve’s First Look At BMW’s i8 Hybrid Left Him Wanting One

In my 20 years of test-driving cars, the BMW i8 holds the title as the most attention-grabbing; an amazing car that left me wanting one of my own in the worst way.

The only possible thing that could make it better; a convertible, and for 2019 the dream comes true.  BMW’s i sub-brand focuses on creating premium cars purpose-designed to be powered by pure electric or plug-in hybrid drive systems.

The i8 is the ultimate expression of BMW’s powertrain capabilities, combining the power of an internal combustion engine and electric motor in an innovative way that they themselves developed. The result is a car that proclaims futuristic motoring unlike anything else on the road. It’s a low-slung sports car with terrific acceleration and glued to the road handling, a rolling piece of automotive art crafted for the roads of Tomorrowland and a forward-thinking vehicle committed to resource-efficient processes.

The new 2019 i8 Roadster exchanges its rear seats for a power operated soft top that can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31mph. It gains just 132 pounds over the coupe, weighing in at a relatively svelte 3,513 pounds.   An additional storage area between the roof box and the seats now compliments the small rear compartment allowing for reasonable everyday use.

BMW’s eDrive technology has advanced as well so the number of driving situations where the electric motor is solely responsible for powering the car has been significantly increased.

The updated version of the lithium-ion battery is located centrally in the car’s underbody with increased energy capacity allowing for a 12 hp increase in peak output to 141 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Total output from the turbocharged 3-cylinder engine and electric motor has increased to 369 horsepower. The Roadster’s sprints are a bit slower but still very quick, taking 4.4 seconds to reach 60mph.

The electric range of the i8 has also been increased covering up to 18 miles in purely electric driving and the electric speed threshold has been bumped up to 75mph . A 6-speed auto for the engine and a 2-speed auto for the motor transmit the power to the hybrid-specific all-wheel drive system. Level I charging takes under 3 hours while level II is nearly 3 times faster. Fuel economy is rated at 70MPGe.

This gorgeous E-Copper metallic is one of 2 new color choices available when it hits showrooms this spring. Pricing has yet to be announced but BMW says the i8 Roadster will start at more than $150,000.