BMW i8 – An i to the future

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In 2020 the BMW i8 will be scheduled to cease production.

With a groundbreaking appearance in the initial coupe, followed by the drop-top i8 Roadster, BMW’s first plug-in hybrid model has paved the way for a host of new models under the hybrid/electric i range. As the BMW Group prepares for the next chapter in this story, we take a look at the genesis of the i model with South Yarra BMW’s i8 Roadster.

As you approach the i8 Roadster, the first thing you notice is the low-slung supercar silhouette. Shortly after, the super aggressive front end design hits you. It’s hard to believe you’re looking at a design now six years old in production guise, but closer to ten tracing the history of the concept cars. The car makes a visual statement far beyond its pricetag, with a mechanical a package equally unique among its peers.

The Roadster builds on these bold design cues with a retractable soft-top, which when stowed away invokes images befitting of a superhero’s daily driver. Forgoing the coupe’s 2+2 seating layout, the Roadster is a strict two-seater.

What the driver gains in return is significant additional storage space behind the front seats that would make it a suitable companion for a weekend getaway.

Equally suitable for a long-distance jaunt, the i8’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain carries over into the Roadster, permitting fuel consumption of just 2.4L/100km on your road trip. While the supercar looks typically come hand in hand with the wail of an 8, 10 or even 12 cylinder combustion engine (we’re looking at you, 850CSi), the driving experience doesn’t feel lacking in this regard. With all the instant punch offered by electric motors, combined with the small 1.5L turbo petrol engine, the aural experience both authentic and enhanced, feels strangely at home in such a futuristic vehicle.

When driving at lower speeds in EV mode, the Roadster takes off effortlessly from a standstill, with next to no sound or drama whatsoever. This ironically creates a unique type of drama in and of itself, with passers-by taking a second glance as you disappear from view in total silence.

While this updated Roadster marks the last iteration of the trailblazing i8, the i story will continue with the existing i3, next year’s all-new i4, and no doubt many more to come.

Images: Leigh Kelly & Cam Dawes / Minami Media + Production
Originally published in BMWDCM’s idrive edition 2

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