Electric vehicles and hybrid automobiles are all about being friendlier to the environment and saving on gas money, though the latest models are anything but boring or conservative. Automakers have been pushing out increasingly faster, better performing EV and hybrids, and many of them even have a certain sex appeal. To that end, BMW's new i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe are a couple of environmentally friendly (relatively) beauties.
These are plug-in hybrids, one with a fixed roof (i8 Coupe) and the other an open-top version (i8 Roadster), the latter of which is a new addition to what BMW claims has been the highest selling plug-in hybrid since the i8's introduction in 2014. Both are based on the LifeDrive vehicle architecture with an aluminum chassis and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell.
BMW also equipped both models with a revised eDrive system that boasts an 11.6-kWh battery, a big upgrade over last year's 7.1-kWh battery, pushing peak output of the electric motor to 143 horsepower. EV-only driving speeds can now reach just above 60 miles per hour (105 km/h). Unfortunately, motorists will not get very far on the battery alone, with a silent range of 34 miles for the i8 Coupe and 33 miles for the i8 Roadster.
Total system output on these puppies is 374 hp, with the i8 Coupe able to go from a standstill to 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds; the i8 Roadster gets there in 4.6 seconds, plenty fast enough to elicit a goofy grin when pounding on pedal.
BMS says the new soft-top roof on the i8 Roadster opens in 15 seconds. The rear window opens automatically and independently of the roof. It also features an aerodynamic design with frameless gullwing doors that lift up, LED headlights, Roadster badging the c-pillar, an air shutter on the hood, and optional 20-inch wheels. In short, it's a slick looking beast.
There are plenty of creature comforts in the all-new interior, including a touchscreen with tile-style control pads and customizable live content, and an optional heads-up display with shift light visualization. BMW also outfitted its EV with new seats, optional ceramic elements, and optional carbon trim. These are all available on both the i8 Coupe and i8 Roadster.
"The proportions, lines and surface design mark out both the BMW i8 Coupe and BMW i8 Roadster as belonging to a new breed of sports car. On an individual level, the BMW i8 Coupe stands out as an extremely sporty 2+2 seater, while the BMW i8 Roadster oozes all the freedom of open-top motoring for two," BMW says.
Both models will land in dealerships before the end of the year, with pricing to be announced later.