Official premiere will take place in about two weeks.
April 23, 2012. It represents the date when BMW introduced the i8 Concept Spyder at the Auto China show in Beijing. Fast forward to present day, the production version is almost ready to break cover, but not before a new teaser video. Shot at the Leipzig factory in Germany where the i3 hatchback and i8 coupe are being put together, the clip gives us the opportunity to have a look at its roadster counterpart set to employ an electrically retractable soft top.
Latest reports are indicating the i8 will be able to drop its fabric roof in 14 seconds and it’s going to be possible to go from coupe to cabrio at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 kph). It goes without saying that changing the configuration of the roof will also have an impact on the rear window, which based on what the video is showing it will be fairly small.
Elsewhere, by the looks of it, the BMW i8 Roadster will adopt slightly different headlights. The shape of the cluster appears to be just about the same, but what’s inside seems to have changed compared to the coupe’s lights. Some tweaks to the rear ones are also expected, but nothing to write home about.
While the foldable roof is obviously the biggest change, rumor has it the i8 Roadster will benefit from an upgraded plug-in hybrid powertrain developing a combined output of approximately 400 hp. That would represent a significant bump of 43 hp over the coupe and could be accompanied by a doubled battery capacity, at 14 kWh.
We will have all the details on November 28 when BMW will take the wraps off the i8 Roadster at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Customer deliveries are likely scheduled to begin just in time for the spring of 2018. Obviously, the new body style will command a premium over the coupe available in the U.S. from $143,400 MSRP.