BMW i8 Roadster looks better than ever
9:01

BMW i8 Roadster looks better than ever

Cars
Sometimes around the world, particularly in fact in [UNKNOWN] Spain, where we are now, you find buildings that are sort of artfully dilapidated. So, sort of grafittied and sort of missing pieces of concrete with aerials and such. Much like this old train station here. Do you think Perhaps they were always meant to be like this. And so it is really with some cars. Some cars you think they look so good. There's roadsters with the roof taken off. You think surely they were always meant to be like that. The I8 Roadster is a case-in-point. I mean, it looked wonderful as a coupe but I think it looks even better as a roadster. The roof can be stowed away in just 15 seconds and at speeds of up to 31 MPH. The only downside is that you lose the two vestigial rear seats. Where there is still a large cubbyhole behind the driver and passenger for extra storage. Overall, the roadster weighs just 60 kilos more than the coupe, taking the total curb weight up to 1595 kilos. And this striking new color is called E Copper. Apparently, BMW's engineers had never actually wanted this to be anything other than a coupe. But when they took the roof off, they discovered that the carbon passenger cell was actually Well, it's officially robust, that they didn't really need to reinforce it very much indeed. There is a place underneath it, and this windows around here. It's got extra carbon fiber in it. The other thing they had to do, one at the front. Normally it was venting out here, but then that would have meant that all the hot air washed over here and straight in to the driver and passenger's lap. Which wouldn't have been very good. Instead, the warm air has been channeled underneath and around the car, while a new diffuser has meant that the i8's sleek lines haven't had to be sullied by a rear spoiler, which is good. The other lovely thing is that they've managed to keep [SOUND] these wonderful dihedral doors. Underneath, the mechanicals remain largely unchanged. Mid mounted, 1.5 liter turbo charged three cylinder petrol engine produces 228 horsepower. 236 foot-pounds of torque. Add in a [INAUDIBLE] more powerful electric motor driving the front wheels, and you now how totals of 336 brick horse power, and 420 foot. Thanks to batteries that are now more power dense, Electric-only range has increased usefully from 20 to 33 miles, and the i8 can reach 75 miles an hour without waking the internal combustion engine, but what I want to know is is this the sort of car that will make you set an alarm and creep out of bed early on a Sunday morning just to go for a drive? Prowling through town as the last stragglers are returning from the clubs It certainly deals with the metropolitan miles extremely well. Leave it in comfort mode and it feels far less eager to engage the petrol motor than I remember, meaning you can slip silently through the city with the looks doing all the shouting. The cabin, with it's new touch screen, is a lovely place to pass the motorway miles, and there is a calmness to the persona of the ride. Which is quite refreshing. But what's it like when with the sun rising you finally reach the smooth serpentine road you've been aiming for. This is the CV25 which winds through the famous olive trees of the small and rather beautifully form Calderona mountain range. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [SOUND] What is impressive is that And it'll be certainly nice to disguise the extra 60 kilos that this I8 roadster weighs over the Coupe A. I do like the sound of this three cylinder as well. Seriously just cruising around. Sounds a little bit like a Lancaster bomber, can you hear it? [SOUND] Like several Merlins when trimmed. The performance is more than [UNKNOWN] quick at 0-62 miles an hour and 4.6 seconds. But perhaps not as startling as you might expect from, well the looks I suppose. The problem I have with the i8 is really to do with the handling. Not because it's bad, in fact it's very good on a road like this, which is sinuous to say the least. Constantly jinking one way then the other, but it's just a little bit one-dimensional. The steering is smooth and fluid, but it doesn't give you any feedback at all. You have no idea how hard those front tires are really pushing. There is more grip from these front tires now, on 20 inch wheels with Bridgestone Potenza. Rubber under them and the front end is certainly keener than I remember. It deals with these tighter corners much better. But if you really really push it all you're gonna get is just a little bit of squeal from the front tires. And you don't feel like you can just adjust the balance. Certainly not on a throttle is just too much grip. So then you're left with a car that is swift, and certainly pleasant, and I love having the open roof and it looks really good, but there's not a lot more to it than that. Map, you are not going to be learning with this car, not going on a exploratory dynamic journey, I suppose. Part of me wonders if the i8 wouldn't be better aiming at some playful but less grippy performance envelope. Because it feels like it is perhaps trying to justify its price tag with grip akin to an R8, 911, or AMG GT. When in fact he should accept that it isn't as fast as those cars and go down a completely different dynamite route, perhaps one more akin to the Alpine A110. Why not take a bit of the performance away from the tires? Bring back some of the balance. Let it be a little bit more playful at lower speeds. Then I think That I nailed it. The ride is being a little difficult to judge on these roads because they're beautifully surfaces, not that I'm complaining about that. But, around town and over the few slightly patchy bits, the ride is basically very good but. It feels just occasionally, it can get a little bit lumpy, as though the wheels are perhaps a little bit heavy for the springs and dampers at times. You can feel perhaps, just over this bridge, one of the few lumpy sections in tarmac. [BLANK_AUDIO] Overall the I8 has made the transformation from coupe to roadster remarkably well. And remains a very desirable package. It does the electric stuff better than ever. The looks are strikingly athletic and the esthetic still retains an intriguing hint of the futuristic. It will certainly turn heads as it slips silently up the Kings Road. At 125 thousand pounds, it is, however, expensive. As fun as the sound of a three cylinder is, You can get that in a VW GTI, which costs, well not to put too fine a point on it, a lot less. And although the I8 accelerates quickly, changes direction with aplomb, and generally drives very well, the whole experience never quite thrills in the league that its appearance suggests it should. The MW's tagline is the ultimate driving machine. And when a car looks like the I8 does, regardless of whether it has an M badge on it or not, you expect a certain dynamic flair. But in the same way that an I3 is not the dynamic equal of a golf GTI, so the I8 is not in the same league as an [INAUDIBLE] An I8 or perhaps more pertinently, a Honda LSX. I still find the I8 curiously appealing [UNKNOWN] And plenty of people buy supercars and sports cars that seemingly never leave cities. They sprint to 30 or perhaps occasionally 50 miles an hour, but no further. And they don't tackle any corners more challenging than a roundabout. Yet people still want them for their status and style alone. In that regard, I think the i8 Roadster leads the field. It is the ultimate urban sports car

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