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have some electrifying wind in your hair with the bmw i8 roadster

Have some electrifying wind in your hair with the BMW i8 Roadster

How do you make an entrance at the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry? You drive in behind the wheel of an electrified roadster of course

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

18 Sep 2018

The Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) 2018 is currently going on at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. BMW sees itself as an industry shaper for electrification in vehicles and together with its i sub-brand delivered 100,000 electrified vehicles worldwide last year. Naturally, BMW Group Malaysia was selected as the official E-Mobility partner of the symposium.

To cement its position as a leader in electrified vehicles, BMW Malaysia unveiled the new BMW i8 Roadster that allows some wind in your hair if the fixed tin-top roof of the i8 Coupe doesn’t quite cut it for you.

Exterior wise, the taut soft-top roof is the giveaway and sports a “Roadster” badge on the C-pillar just in case you couldn’t tell which one it is. The electric folding roof deploys or folds way in just 15 seconds and can be done so on the move up to 50kph. A retractable rear window lowers accordingly to function as a wind deflector but can be adjusted manually in the cabin if you need to drown out your passenger’s nagging.

Carbon fibre features extensively in the chassis with a horizontally split structure comprising an aluminium chassis and a carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) passenger cell. It facilitates optimal positioning of the drive components to ensure the best possible handling.

Those frameless gullwing doors are constructed from CFRP as well with an aluminium outer shell while the windscreen frame is made entirely from CFRP. All that carbon fibre in its diet leads to an unladen weight of 1,595kg.

Much like the coupe, the inline-three 1.5-litre turbo engine drives the rear wheels to a maximum tune of 231hp with a peak torque of 320 Nm. Completing the hybrid all-wheel drive system is the electric motor for the front wheels.

The lithium-ion battery is the same as the updated one in the coupe. Its position centrally in the underbody and has the increased capacity of 33Ah from the previous 20Ah and gross energy capacity has risen to 11.6 kWh from 7.1 kWh. Peak output for the electric motor is now 143hp and the combined output of the petrol and electric motors is 374hp. We’re still unsure how that number came to be.

A six-speed automatic transmission drives the rear wheels while the electric motor has a two-speed auto to drive the front. This pushes it from 0-100kph in just 4.6-seconds and onto a limited 250kph. If consumption matters, it’s 50km/litre and 14.5 kWh per 100km.

The i8 can be driven solely on electric power up to 105kph and 120kph with the eDrive button on. Pure electric range is a claimed 53km. Furthermore, the navigation system is tied into the energy management system and employs the electric motor as extensively as possible for maximum efficiency by analysing the route.

Inside, it doesn’t differ much from the i8 Coupe and features a heads-up display with a sports display of revs, gears and shift indicators for Sports mode. You can only have the Roadster in E-Copper with Accaro interior design.

How much will it cost? RM1,508,800 or if you opt for their Balloon Financing Plan it can be yours with monthly instalment plans starting from RM 17,268.00 (based on estimates of an 80 per cent loan on a five-year tenure) because those that can afford it aren’t privy to the fact that you can take a car loan for nine years like us plebeians.

That cool pricetag includes the standard five-year unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled servicing, a two-year tyre warranty programme for run-flats, roadside assistance, Group Loyalty, BMW White Card and the BMW Service Online.