BMW i8 concept roadster – the third model in the company’s electric ‘i’ line-up – will be shown at this month’s Los Angeles motor show.
Previously seen earlier this year at the Beijing motor show, the roadster concept uses the same carbonfibre construction as the i8 coupé, which is due to launch in 2013.
Unlike the coupe’s 2+2 layout, the roadster is a strict two-seater and has a shallow rear deck in place of the coupé’s sloping roof-line.
BMW has not confirmed how the roof mechanism will work, although a lift-out panel – also made from carbonfibre – is the most likely option.
The i8 roadster will use the same drivetrain configuration as the coupé, meaning a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine developing 220bhp and driving the rear wheels, while an electric motor, with the equivalent of around 134bhp driving the fronts.
The configuration allows the i8 to operate in front, rear and all-wheel drive, as well as in combustion, electric and combined modes. The positioning of the motors over each axle, and the battery pack in a central tunnel, also allows BMW to stick to its famous 50/50 weight distribution.
With a total of 354bhp, the i8 roadster will have a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds. As with all BMWs, the top speed is limited to 155mph.
Despite the performance on offer, thanks to its efficient petrol engine and battery power, the i8 Roadster will average around 104mpg. The lithium-ion battery pack will also allow for electric-only driving for up to 20 miles, and can be fully charged in just 1hr 45mins using a high-voltage outlet.
A production version of the i8 roadster is due for launch in late 2014, with a projected price tag of around £80,000.
Thanks to: Autocar