BMW, that will be chopping the top off its i8 hybrid for the upcoming Beijing Auto Show, has recently revealed some images of the new convertible i8 Spyder supercar a few weeks ahead of the official unveiling in China.
It’s a sign that Munich will offer a convertible i8 alongside the tin-top coupe when BMW i8 sales kick off in 2014. The convertible will sport a two-section folding back roof, converting the coupe into the roadster in just a few seconds.
The i8 cabrio gives a few pointers to the likely format of the production cars. The Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length, suggesting that showroom i8s will be more compact than the concepts seen so far.
Despite its cabriolet silhouette, the vehicle will be keeping its swan doors that fold upwards. This is enabled by the carbon rich structure of the i8 which makes for a very stiff structure. The passenger ‘Life’ cell is made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) while the ‘Drive’ platform underneath is made from aluminium. The ithium battery can be found in the car’s spine assisting with providing a low sense of gravity and BMW’s 50:50 weight distribution.
Like the i8 coupe, this car has a plug-in hybrid powertrain to produce supercar performance, the emissions from which BMW claims are very low.
A 129bhp electric motor drives the front wheels, while a three-cylinder turbo petrol engine sends 220bhp to the back axle. Total output is 349bhp and 406lb ft of torque. This results in the vehicle reaching 0-62mph in just 5 seconds reaching a maximum speed of 155mph.
A domestic socket will charge up the lithium-ion battery in ‘less than two hours’, giving a 19-mile range on EV power. On cold days, the battery and cabin can be set up to be warmed up to operating temperature in advance.
In early March, BMW announced that its i3 electric hatchback production version would be ready for 2013.