Thursday, May 31, 2018

BMW i8 Coupe and Roadster

Since its launch four years ago, the BMW i8 shattered expectations of what an eco-car should be, delivering unbiased performance and efficiency in a way that was heavily reminiscent of the Porsche 918 Spyder, which isn't so bad in a car that is about 10% of the price of the 918. It was one of the most fantastic cars ever made, making the Honda NSX feels like peanut butters and denim jeans. Now, as time change, BMW made the i8 even better and they made a nice new addition to the range fit enough for your next weekend drive.

2019 BMW i8 Coupe
2019 BMW i8 Roadster

Now, for the 2019 model, the BMW i8 gained its minor change with some fresh updates to its wondrous powertrain and apart from the update, the new i8 Roadster was introduced, giving you plenty of choices to go for.

Checking on the design, since the i8 has reached its LCI phase, BMW's term for cars reached their minor change, the obvious change is the front and rear lamps and the implementation of Coupe and Roadster badges on the sidelines, not to mention some new 20-inch rims to name a few. The new front lamps are surprisingly laser ones that has a high-beam range of 600 metres, further than your telescopic flashlight can reach through a faraway home for nuisance, which is rather impressive. The air shutter on the front is still here for aerodynamic purposes.

2019 BMW i8 Coupe interior
2019 BMW i8 Roadster interior

There has been some mild revisions to the inside of the i8 such as the addition of the new Accaro E-Cooper with sustainable materials, which stays true to its eco-car promise, as well as its new touchscreen with tile-style control pads and customizable content for their personal tastes on the go, available ceramic elements, carbon trim, HUD with shift light visualization and pretty much it. Of course, those who are familiar of getting inside the i8 might experience the stubborn getting in and out process on the coupe version but on the new roadster variant, with the roof down, it's as smooth as a Victoria's Secret model and while cruising, you can close the roof and then open it again to see how much fun this eco-car can go for the extra mile. Also, while the coupe has two additional seats to the back, the roadster doesn't have those and in exchange, the roadster gets an available travel package with 92 litres of extra space, good for storing your laptops and other necessities on the trip to the country club.

On the performance side, BMW spent massive hours recalibrating the i8's powertrain and dynamics to deliver the sensation drivers are hoping for, which isn't bad for a mid-engined, four-wheel drive eco-car that is more fun to live and breathe with than the Honda NSX, despite being short on power compared to it. Talking through here, the new i8's innovative plug-in hybrid system has been improved with a brand new battery with over 55km of electric range. Powering this alongside the electric motor and the 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo engine, the result is an overall power output of now 374PS of power and 570Nm of torque. Mated to a 6-speed automatic, in the coupe version, it does 0-100kph in 4.4 seconds (4.6 seconds in the roadster) and electronically limited to 250kph. In terms of consumption, the coupe version promises 1.9L/100km of fuel economy while the roadster gets 2.1L/100km, verified by the NEDC.

Dynamics aside, despite the weight difference between the two cars, the i8's LifeDrive architecture promises an ideal weight distribution that fits perfectly with its PHEV drivetrain, all-wheel drive powertrain, and its race-inspired suspension setup, giving drivers what they're looking for in a car that is not just as ecological as a Prius but impressive to drive like the now legendary hypercar holy trinity.

While this is mainly a fun to drive car, the safety tech rather spoils the speedo boys tastes especially when it comes with semi-autonomous tech that will make them very noticeable enough to get their skins crawling. With several driver assistance systems come standard, there's no denying just how redundant it maybe when used on public roads but if you're trying to preserve this car, so be it because these tech might just save your hard-earned car for that matter, especially when the coupe starts at 138,000 Euros while the roadster starts at 155,000 Euros.

That sounds like much but compared to the Honda NSX, they're less expensive, making it a well-deserved bargain to get your hands on. In conclusion, the latest minor change and the addition of the new Roadster variant gives the BMW i8 more reason to love about the flagship of the BMW i range. With its improved performance and better fuel efficiency, there's so much to love about this Bimmer especially when you likened it to the Mercedes-AMG GT R parked next to it and sooner or later, you're going to fall in love with such German steel like the i8. The best just got better and it's even better than the best.

Photo: BMW AG

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