The world has been hungry for a convertible i8 since BMW teased a concept at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show and that demand has finally been satisfied with the unveiling of the i8 Roadster at the 2017 LA Auto Show.
BMW has done more than take a can opener to the i8’s roof though because they’ve conveniently bundled in a facelift of the hybrid supercar too.
By introducing an electronically folding rag-top, the i8 Roadster has been forced to sacrifice its rear side windows and the two rear seats, which weren’t much use anyway; the facelifted i8 Coupe remains a two-by-two seater though.
The roof – which is made up of a large fabric panel and integrated header rails – is claimed to open in just 15 seconds at speeds up to 31mph.
Bolting in all the necessary electronics to make the i8 a convertible has upped its weight to 1,594kg, which is only 60kg more than its fixed roof counterpart.
But to ensure this added weight doesn’t hinder its performance too much, the i8 Roadster’s electric motor has received a power upgrade of 12bhp to 141bhp, while its 1.5-litre three-pot petrol engine continues to send the same 228bhp via a six-speed auto gearbox to the rear wheels.
This gives the droptop a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds, which makes it a smidge slower than the revised coupe’s 4.4 seconds. Both facelifted i8s have a limited top speed of 155mph.
The eye-popping frameless gullwing doors remain a key feature of the i8, but notable changes about the model include a spruced-up cabin with new seats and an extra 92 litres of interior storage.
BMW proudly states that the i8 has been the world’s highest-selling hybrid sports car since it first hit the roads in 2014, but to be fair, what else is there? Porsche Panamera? Honda NSX? It’s quite a niche accolade if BMW was honest.
Both the facelifted i8 and its Roadster sibling will go on sale from May 2018.