Not a lot of new facts were proffered, but a selection of images from a factory-released video offer the clearest look yet at the upcoming BMW i8 Roadster. So far we’ve only been assured this third member of the BMW i family will unlock the door to “a whole new dimension in pioneering open-top driving pleasure.” First shown here in 2014 as the BMW i8 Concept Roadster in Los Angeles, it was finally confirmed for production a year ago by Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. Like the i8 Coupe, this new al fresco variation on the theme also promises to be “virtually silent and with zero local emissions.”

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While BMW has yet to state it outright, a quick look at the camo-wrapped 2-seater indicates there’s plenty of styling and engineering commonality with its hard-shell kin, albeit with some distinctive twists in the front/rear lighting as well as unique buttress elements aft of the seats that also serve as a rear anchor point for its removable targa-style top. With Krüger indicating the car would be positioned above the existing Coupe in the i8 range, rumors continue to circulate that motive force for this plug-in hybrid roadster may be cranked up to something approaching 400 horsepower compared to 357 in the coupe. Regardless of output, expect the rear wheels of the new i8 Roadster to be driven by a turbocharged 3-cylinder gasoline engine while an electric motor energized by a lithium-ion battery pack will be powering the front tires.

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The company confirmed production of the new BMW i8 Roadster will start in 2018, although it stopped short of stating what model year the newcomer will carry here in America. We could see a production version of the i8 Roadster in BMW’s massive display this September at the Frankfurt Auto Show, where a new electric-powered 3 Series aimed at the new Tesla Model 3 also seems likely to make its debut.

More EVs and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles:

2018 Honda Accord Clarity EV: Smooth operator, with asterisks

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited Quick Take

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf First Review


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