BMW News

As BMW model launch ads go, this one for the BMW i8 Roadster is longer than most, and for much of the film, features the original BMW i8 Coupe. But that's not a bad thing. We might be biased, but we think this is one of BMW's better launch films of the last couple of years.

Just launched last week at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW's newest i car, the BMW i8 Roadster, is getting great reviews for its styling. We expect that it will also get good reviews for its driving, since it will drive pretty much like the i8 Coupe except for that wind-in-your-hair thing.

Most convertible versions of roofed cars are challenged to retain the stiffness or rigidity of the chassis without the roof's connecting pieces. Since the i8's passenger tub was already made of carbon fiber, BMW was able to use that material to strengthen the Life Module and maintain rigidity.

BMW installed a retractable soft top that folds into a "Z" shape before being electromechanically inserted vertically behind the seats. We could say front seats but in the i8 Roadster, the front seats are the only seats. There is even a little space left over behind the seats—about 3.5 cubic feet—to put stuff besides the roof. The original i8 Coupe had rear seats there, which most owners considered to be the real trunk when it came to carrying things. The soft top has additional soundproofing and can be retracted or extended in about sixteen seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour.

This film really demonstrates the design differences between the two models. With the top down, the Roadster's back half with its two humps and unique rear deck looks quite a bit sportier than the Coupe's sloping roofline and large rear window that looks very, well, coupe-ish.

When it comes to BMW's halo car—now a matched set of halo cars—the future is here.—Scott Blazey

[Photos and video courtesy of BMW AG.]