NEWS

2019 BMW i8 Roadster: Weird, Wild and Windy

CARS.COM — There are few cars on the road today that are more spaceship-like than the BMW i8 coupe. Inside and out, this thing looks like it just rolled off an auto-show turntable, with its concept-car looks, hybrid-electric powertrain and futuristic cockpit. Even the doors scream “way of the future” with their quasi-gullwing openings.

So what could make one of the wildest production cars on the road even better? Take the top off!

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That’s exactly what BMW did with the i8 roadster, and the results are stellar. The crazy Starfighter lines of the coupe aren’t ruined at all by losing the central roof panel, but to call this thing a true convertible is a bit of a stretch. The thick B-pillars remain and the rear window continues to be tiny, so this really is more of a power-operated “Targa” top than a true convertible. Still, it will allow a lot of fresh air and sunshine into the cabin, and it will allow the driver to hear what little engine noise the i8 makes that much more easily.

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It also makes getting into and out of the i8, one of the worst parts about this car, marginally easier. The coupe’s roof is impossibly low, and with the lower door frame rising to envelop the driver in a carbon-fiber tub for safety, it makes the actual door opening crazy-small. The tub is still high in the Roadster, but without a roof in place, you can just step in and plop down on the seat without trying to contort yourself into a pretzel. Getting out is still challenging, but it no longer results in you failing to egress gracefully and tumbling out onto the pavement in a heap … most of the time. When the roof is up, however, all those coupe-specific ingress/egress problems resurface.

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Still, intending buyers aren’t likely to care. The BMW i8 is a blast to drive, and with more power and range, it promises to be even better than the outgoing model. Add in the ability to enjoy the sunshine and breezes, and the i8 Roadster becomes the truly appealing option.

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