NEW BMW i8 ROADSTER

Dramatic-looking drop-top complements plug-in i8 coupe and caps BMW’s far-sighted i-car range.

Design: Roadster benefits from updates applied to revised coupe, now in its fourth year of production. Few cars at any price channel air with such stylish aerodynamic solutions. Most adventurous is the heavily buttressed rear that looks to sport a pair of butterfly wings atop an abdomen that conceals a modest three-pot petrol. Scissor-effect doors further the theme. The lightweight fabric roof automatically stows in 15 seconds and can be operated at city speeds, and the rear window/ wind deflector can be operated independently via a roof-mounted button. No secondary seats in the rear frees up generous cubbyhole storage in bulkhead.

Driver’s Seat: A proven technique for a graceful entry involves folding yourself between the upswung door and steeply raked windscreen. Adopt a side-saddle perch on the broad sill and a swivel of legs will see you drop into the ‘Carpo’ design interior. It’s a familiar operating environment for modern BMW drivers with extra dashboard layering and special materials and textures. A satin silver ring is set into the leather sports steering wheel.

Interface: Latest version of iDrive means you skip through a series of tiles on the broad free-standing monitor by working a beautifully finished metal rotary controller. The display also offers full surround view in addition to a rear camera. Drivers have a head-up display and a TFT instrument display that changes according to driving mode.

Configure: If you like what you’re looking at, select e-Copper from the four colour options. This body colour combines with Frozen Grey metallic highlights. The ‘Carpo’ interior design features Dry Carbon trim finishers and sports seats trimmed in full black leather with subtle colour contrasting for ‘double lapped seams’. The one option on the car driven was BMW’s projector laserlight package ($8000) for an illumination range of up to 600m. The ‘i-blue’ seatbelts are standard…

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BMW i8 ROADSTER

ENGINE 1499cc 3-cyl turbo and electric

POWER 275kW (369bhp) combined

TORQUE 570Nm combined

TRANSMISSION 6-spd auto or 2-spd (elec)

DRIVETRAIN variable front and 4WD

LENGTH 4.69m

WEIGHT 1595kg

WHEELS 20-inch Radial-spoke alloy

TYRES 215/45 R20 (f) 235/40 R20 (r)

0-100km/h 4.6 secs

FUEL CLAIM 2.0L/100km

PRICE from $309,900

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