The first-ever BMW i8 Roadster was launched by BMW Malaysia at the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) 2018 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, in which BMW Malaysia is the official E-Mobility partner. This 2-seater ‘progressive hybrid sports car’ will retail from RM1,508,800 (on the road without insurance; Peninsula Malaysia).
This roadster is identical to the recently-launched BMW i8 Coupe, save for the powered folding roof that retracts fully into the rear end and stows upright behind the seats, thus allowing for about 100 litres of additional storage space at the rear. The roof opens and closes in 15 seconds and works at up to 50 km/h. Dropping the top raises the rear window by about 30 mm to deflect wind and reduce turbulence. The height of the rear window can be controlled by a button in the cockpit.
The open-top concept also required a new frameless gullwing door design, made from Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) with an aluminium outer shell; the windscreen frame is 100% CFRP. This ultra-strong high-tech material is ideally equipped to provide exceptional rigidity, maximising the car’s occupant protection even if it rolls over. CFRP is also used to manufacture the side skirts with their extra-large cross-section. Additional struts and panels in the front and rear axles also help to maximise the body’s rigidity. The unladen weight of the i8 Roadster is 1,595 kg – considered a low figure for an open-top car.
The car is built on the brand new LifeDrive vehicle architecture which has a horizontally split structure comprising an aluminium chassis and a CFRP passenger cell. This clever engineering trick enables the optimal positioning of the necessary drive components to ensure the best possible handling, as well as ensuring a noticeable weight advantage with the carbon passenger cell.
Turning the front wheels is the electric motor, while the rear wheels are driven by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. The combined power of 374 hp is controlled seamlessly by the intelligent energy management system, and allows for a 0 – 100 km/h time of 4.6 seconds and combined fuel consumption of 2 litres / 100 km. In hybrid mode, the electric motor provides a power boost to assist the engine under hard acceleration. It is also able to recuperate energy and feed it to the high-voltage battery on overrun and under braking. The petrol engine’s high-voltage starter-generator can also generate additional reserves of electricity, thereby ensuring sufficient energy at all times for the electric drive system.
Working with the navigation system’s route guidance function, the intelligent energy management ensures the electric motor is employed as extensively as possible for maximum efficiency. The system analyses the route in full and sets up the powertrain management to run on purely electric power, especially over low-
speed sections of the journey.
The electric power comes from an updated lithium-ion battery package developed for the BMW i8. Located centrally in the car’s underbody, the battery cells now have an increased capacity of 33 Ah from the previous 20 Ah, and gross energy capacity is up to 11.6 kWh, from 7.1 kWh, which means more juice for the motor. In the standard driving mode, the i8 Roadster can be driven exclusively on electricity up to 105 km/h. The combustion engine will only come in to assist at higher speeds or when pedal to the metal (or CFRP). Pressing the eDrive button allows travel at up to 120 km/h on electric power alone. The electric range is claimed to be 53 km.
The suspension and damping systems are model-specific, with firmer roll stabilisation and modified DSC parameters. The car is fitted with 20″ light alloy wheels that are about 1 kg lighter than the lightest wheels previously offered for the i8. Other standard features include Cornering Brake Control and Dynamic Traction Control.
In the cockpit, the centre console, door handle and dashboard feature open-pored CFRP carbon trim. The driver is assisted by the BMW Head-up Display and also enjoys a multi-function sports steering wheel with paddle shifters. Other notable features include the iDrive touch controller, cruise control with brake function, Driving Assistant (includes top and side view camera system, person and approach control warning with light city braking), Park Distance Control (front & rear), Navigation System Professional, and onboard computer including Check Control.
“BMW Group Malaysia sees itself as a key industry player capable of driving and shaping the national dialogue on the Mobility of the Future. Our leadership in Electro Mobility is amply reflected in the innovative range of electrified vehicles that have been launched under the BMW Group. Our commitment to drive e-mobility forward is strengthened through our initiatives to drive innovation, local assembly capabilities, awareness on new and clean technology for the automotive industry as well as changing the infrastructure for premium vehicles in the country,” said Harald Hoelzl, Managing Director and CEO of BMW Group Malaysia.
In 2017, the BMW Group promised and delivered 100,000 electrified vehicles. With over 82,000 electrified units already delivered in the first eight months of this year – a 43.3% increase compared to the same period last year – the premium automaker is on track to achieve the mark of delivering 140,000 electrified vehicles in 2018.
This ambition is pursued by BMW Group Malaysia locally with exceptional performance in its electrified vehicles. Year-to-date, BMW Group Malaysia has already successfully delivered over 9,500 BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad vehicles, recording an increase of more than 20% compared to the same period last year. Of the total vehicle deliveries, 56% comprises of electrified BMW and MINI vehicles, indicating the evolving sentiment among Malaysians for embracing Visionary Mobility in their automotive needs.
During CEPSI 2018 (17 – 22 September), BMW Group Malaysia will further drive discussion on the Future of Mobility in Malaysia with Dr. Alexander Kotouc. As the Head of Product Management for BMW i, the sub brand of the BMW Group responsible for Visionary Vehicles, Dr. Kotouc will share on the premium automaker’s plans and vision as a leader in automotive sustainability and progressive mobility.
“The First-Ever BMW i8 Roadster is the ultimate icon for Mobility of the Future. The open-top hybrid two-seater sports car redefines driving enthusiasm, freedom and demonstrates e-Mobility as the visionary way forward for the convertible sports cars segment,” said Hoelzl.
The BMW i8 Roadster comes in E-Copper exterior colour with Accaro interior design, and is available at authorised BMW i dealerships from today (19 September 2018).
The Roadster is also available on a Balloon Financing Plan from BMW Group Financial Services Malaysia, and can be owned with monthly instalment plans starting from RM17,268 (based on estimates of an 80% loan on a five-year tenure).
BMW i8 Roadster owners will enjoy:
- BMW 5-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service Program
- BMW 2-Year/ 24 Month Tyre Warranty Program for its Run Flat Tyre offering and services
- BMW Roadside Assistance and Accident Hotline
- The BMW Group Loyalty+ Mobile App – BMW White Card
- BMW Service Online