German automaker BMW has announced that its hybrid electric i8 Roadster, plus a fresh look i8 Coupé, is ready to buy for cashed up Australian EV enthusiasts.
The new-look i8, which is the world’s largest selling plugin hybrid EV sports car, will have a range of refinements to its design, including a fast-closing soft top for the Roadster and additional metallic colours for both models (a burnt orange called ‘E-Copper metallic’ and sleek James-Bondesque ‘Donington Grey’).
— BMW i (@BMWi) December 14, 2017
This is accompanied by fairly standard tech tweaks, such as a premium suite of ConnectedDrive features including Intelligent Emergency Call, Real-Time Traffic Information and Concierge Services, 11-speaker surround sound and voice recognition.
But it’s what is under the hood that is of most interest, with both models boosted by a 70 per cent larger battery capacity providing 40km real-world range driving on electric power.
This means an increased output for the electric motor from 96kW to 105kW with 250Nm of torque, while the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine output of 170kW and 320Nm of torque combines to output 275kW/570Nm total.
Using BMW’s eDrive system means that fuel usage for each model is fuel only 2.2L/100km (Coupé) or 2.4L/100km (Roadster) on the combined cycle.
“With the latest updates, including the debut of the incredible i8 Roadster, BMW is again trailblazing. With increased power and storage capacity, it’s the best of both worlds,” says BMW Group Australia CEO, Marc Werner.
For those keen to reach into their pockets for a very cool $A318,900 for the Coupe LCI or $A348,900 for the i8 Roadster LCI, expect to spend two hours on the wall to recharge to 80 per cent on 3.7kW using a household socket or a Type 2 connector at the charging station.
For that price though, you may as well splash out and get the BMW i Wallbox Plus charger as well, which can reduce charging time to under 2 hours, according to the company’s website.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.