We’re more than a little confused by how long it’s taken BMW to make a production version of its i8 Spyder concept. Five years ago, the German automaker teased its topless i8 (two years before the i8 coupe went on sale), but every time it looked like a road-going model was around the corner, development fizzled.
Well, the wait might finally be over. A recent tweet shows a video teaser of the production i8 Roadster, along with an announcement that assembly will start in 2018. To bolster the good word, Automotive News is reporting that BMW will showcase its convertible hybrid sports car at this Fall’s LA Auto Show.
Without a final word of confirmation from BMW, we remain a bit skeptical of the car’s LA debut. After all, just last year BMW revealed yet another concept version of its i8 Spyder, dubbed the “i Future Interaction.” Granted, this prototype was more a demonstration of technology than road-going mechanics and styling, but we still felt cheated.
Though the i8 Roadster will just be a derivative of the i8 coupe, BMW considers it the third member of its “i” family, which includes the i3 subcompact. Apart from its finalized design, there shouldn’t be many surprises in store for the production i8 Roadster. Power will come from the same 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and electric motor combo as the i8 coupe, rated at 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Performance should be just off the coupe’s pace of 4.2 seconds to 60 mph due to the added weight of a folding roof. BMW may use this occasion to bump the i8 lineup’s output and range with improved battery technology, but that’s purely hypothetical. Considering how quick the Tesla Model S and new alternative energy players have become, the i8 is in real need of a performance jolt.
When the i8 Roadster does arrive in dealerships, it will be one of the only plug-in hybrid convertibles on sale (the other being Smart’s ForTwo Electric Drive).
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