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2019 BMW i8 Roadster: LA Auto Show

author photo by Doug DeMuro November 2017

What Is It?

The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster is, as the name suggests, a "roadster" version of the BMW i8 -- or, in plain English, a convertible. The 2019 i8 Roadster uses a folding convertible soft top, which BMW says will electrically remove and stow itself in just 16 seconds -- and it loses the rear seats found in the i8 Coupe, which were already relatively useless.

The i8 Roadster also offers a power-operated rear window, much like the 6 Series Cabriolet, meaning you can roll down the rear glass when the roof is up for added ventilation -- or you can roll it up when the roof is down so it can act as a wind deflector. All told, the i8 Roadster weighs about 130 pounds more than the coupe.

Beyond the addition of the i8 Roadster to BMW's lineup, the automaker is also rolling out changes to the i8 -- namely, a boost in the power output of the electric motor, which is now at 141 hp (up 12 from the current model), and a boost in the all-electric range, which now stands at 18 miles compared to the current model's 15. With the revisions, BMW says the i8 Coupe can do zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds, while the Roadster's time is 4.4 seconds.

How Much?

BMW hasn't announced pricing, but the current i8 Coupe starts around $144,000. Expect a slight bump for the 2019 model, while the Roadster will likely start closer to $160,000.

When Can You Get It?

Spring 2018

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

The BMW i8 is certainly among the coolest cars on the market, with otherworldly styling and futuristic plug-in electric propulsion. Of course, the fact that it also offers excellent performance only helps its case. And now, with the new i8 Roadster, the i8's appeal expands to shoppers who want to enjoy the car's merits on a sunny day -- so it's no surprise BMW unveiled the i8 Roadster in Los Angeles. Performance may not quite beat that of similarly priced rivals, but the i8 offers eye-catching styling and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that few other cars can beat.

Other Cars to Consider

Acura NSX -- The hybrid-powered Acura NSX might be the i8's closest rival, though it isn't a plug-in model like the BMW. The NSX features incredible acceleration and handsome styling -- though its looks don't quite match the i8's for uniqueness.

Mercedes-AMG GT -- If you just want a cool sports car with exciting styling -- and getting a plug-in powertrain isn't a priority -- consider the AMG GT, which offers stronger performance than the i8 for less money. The styling certainly isn't as bold, though.

Tesla Model S -- The Model S doesn't offer the i8's "look at me" styling, but it does tout amazing acceleration and a fully electric drivetrain that takes things one step closer to the future than the i8's plug-in hybrid power plant.

Used Porsche 911 Turbo -- Although the 911 Turbo doesn't offer any plug-in or electric propulsion, it touts amazing performance any sports car shopper is sure to appreciate. Prices are high, though, starting around $160,000 -- so you may want to consider a used model.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 BMW i8 Roadster: LA Auto Show - Autotrader