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BMW i8 concept hybrid roadster to appear at the 2012 LA motor show

posted on Nov 21 2012 by Sam Jones

BMW i8 concept hybrid roadster to appear at the 2012 LA motor show

The third addition in the BMW electric i range, the BMW convertible i8 hybrid roadster, will make an appearance at the LA motor show later this month.

The concept sports car has already been debuted at the 2012 Beijing motor show where it was apparent it would share the same carbonfibre construction as the i8 coup. However, the two-seat i8 roadster has a shallow rear deck unlike next years coup which has a 2+2 layout with a slanting roof line. The roof mechanism is also expected to be made from carbonfibre but this has not yet been confirmed by BMW.

Both i8 roadster and coup models will use the same drivetrain configuration; a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine creating 220bhp for the back wheels and an electric motor generating the same as 134bhp for the front. The overall 354bhp means the roadster will reach 60mph in 4.6 seconds but, like all BMWs, will have a limited top speed of 155mph.

This configuration means the i8 can work in combustion, electric and combined modes as well as in rear, front and four-wheel drive. BMW has retained its famed 50/50 weight distribution thanks to the placing of the motors over each axle and the battery pack in a central tunnel.

The i8 roadsters economy will be equally as impressive as its performance, with its lithium-ion battery pack and efficient engine averaging about 104mpg. It will also be able to run for 20 miles on battery power alone and can be fully charged in just 1 hour and 45 minutes using a high-voltage outlet.

A production version of the BMW i8 roadster, which has an estimated price tag of £80,000, is due for late 2014.