LOS ANGELES – Sunny southern California is probably the perfect place for the world debut of the sexy but environmentally friendly 2019 BMW i8 Roadster. While the stylish roadster adds the joy of wind-in-the-hair motoring, hold on to your hat because with a combined 369 horsepower electric/gasoline drivetrain, the i8 Roadster will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Both the i8 Roadster and the upcoming revised i8 Coupe have more power but also greater range than the current i8 Coupe.
Constructed of aluminum with a carbon-fibre passenger tub, the i8 Roadster can run on battery power alone for about 18 miles (29.0 km), up from 14 miles (22.5 km) in the current Coupe. A turbocharged, 1.5L, three-cylinder motor kicks in for a combined horsepower rating of 369 hp, 12 more than the Coupe. The roadster’s power top folds down in 16 seconds while travelling at speeds up to 50 km/h. Driver and passenger exit in style via cantilevered doors that swing upwards.
Also making its premiere in LA is BMW’s new lightweight, 453 hp M3 CS performance sedan which boasts a zero to 60 time of 3.7 seconds. Reportedly 50 kg lighter than the regular M3, the M3 CS has a carbon-fibre hood, roof, and other lightweight components. Standard is BMW’s seven-speed DCT automatic transmission; sadly, a manual will not be offered. An electronically controlled adaptive M Suspension that adjusts to different road surfaces and limited-slip Active M differential for maximum grip are standard kit. For weekend racers who want four doors, the M3 CS is an ideal combination street/track car. Only 1,200 will be made: watch for it next spring.
Other newsworthy North American introductions at the LA show included the hot new M5 sedan, the sleek 8 Series Coupe, the hulking full-size X7 iPerformance concept SUV, the sportier i3s electric car, and the BMW’s future Tesla Model S fighter, the i Vision Dynamics four-door electric sedan concept which BMW announced will go into production.