One of the most remarkable things about the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster, which just made its debut at the 2017 LA Auto Show, is how closely it resembles the concept we saw way, way back in the spring 2012 - an eternity in automotive design years. The battery pack is upgraded to 11.6kWh over 7.1kWh.
The Roadster's folding roof is a compact fabric unit, slipping underneath a new interpretation of the i8 Coupe's floating rear buttresses when stowed.
Power for the i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe comes from a reworked version of the plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid driveline used by the existing i8 Coupe - the LifeDrive architecture as it is labeled by BMW.
The liftback tailgate of the i8 Coupe also makes way for a lengthy engine cover on the i8 Roadster. Now rated at 105kW of power and 250Nm of torque, the electric motor drives the front wheels. Both new models of the BMW i8 shown in LA are due to enter showrooms as 2019 model year entrants. That's thanks, too, to a unique hybrid all-wheel-drive system in which the gas engine drives the rear wheels while an electric motor drives the fronts.
The i series vehicles has been BMW's electrified brand on the road since 2014.
Before we look at the new Roadster, let's jump into the guts of this newly-updated i8.
Total output is up from 266kW to 275kW, with the i8's three-cylinder petrol engine remaining at 170kW.
With a combined 369bhp, the new Roadster is credited with a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds, two-tenths behind the identically-updated coupe. The 2019 i8 still uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-three that makes 228 hp and 236 lb-ft.
A boost of power to 369 horsepower means zero-to-100 km/h times now dwell in 4.6-second area for the Roadster, and around 4.4 for the coupe. New color schemes being offered include E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic, both with Frozen Grey metallic accents.
The interior of the 2019 BMW i8 sees design changes for infotainment and driver information screens. The i8 roadster features a fabric soft top that can open or close in less than 16 seconds, at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. Mpg has also been improved to 149.8mpg for the Coupe and 134.5mpg for the Roadster, although these numbers are always notoriously hard to replicate in the real world, unless you charge frequently and mainly undertake short journeys.