BMW uncovered the i8 Roadster at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in late 2017, with sales starting in 2018 offering a fuel-efficient daily-driver roadster.
The i8 was a radical-looking BMW. It was the first mid-engined BMW since the mighty M1 from the late '70s. Its plug-in hybrid powerplant helped the car achieve impressive fuel efficiency and a decent electric-only autonomy. The Roadster came with the same platform but enhanced for more driving pleasure.
At the front, there was no difference between the i8 and the i8 Roadster. Both body versions shared the same front fascia with a narrow and wide BMW-kidneys grille. The LED-daytime running lights underlined its headlights, and on the lower apron, the car sported a grille to cool the engine flanked by side-scoops to cool the brakes. The big difference was noticed on the sides where the Roadster featured the same "shoulders" over the engine compartment, but without the big rear window between them. The fabric roof was power-operated and retractable in 15 seconds behind the car's seats, at speeds up to 35 mph (50 kph).
BMW managed to keep the same doors as on the coupe version to enter the car, with the hinges mounted on the windscreen's pillars. The interior was similar to the coupe version but offered just two seats instead of four. Instead of the rear bench (which was too small for a normal-sized teenager), the carmaker installed a 100 l (3.5 cu-ft) storage compartment.
Along with the updated 2017 version, BMW increased the battery size so the Roadster could travel up to 33 miles (53 km) on electricity only. Under the engine compartment, it was the same three-cylinder turbocharged engine that provided 231 hp alone. Together with the electric motor, the i8 Roadster offered a total output of 374 hp.