BMW i8 Roadster / Coupe Review (differences of the two)


What a dream this job can be some times. At the risk of having all of my old school chums unfriend me out of justifiable jealousy, I was invited to Nice to test drive both the BMW i8 Coupe and the BMW i8 Roadster. Both cars were sublime and a pure joy to drive.

In this article I'll talking about my experience driving both cars and the subtle nuances between the two.


If you're looking to invest in either the BMW i8 Coupe and the BMW i8 Roadster, you might be thinking, which one really suits your style.

Both cars have the feel of an electric powered drive. Their driving dynamics and overall sportiness make these cars a lot of fun to drive.


The BMW i8 Coupe stands out as an extremely sporty 2+2 seater. Color Coupé: Donnington Grey | Max

The BMW i8 Roadster oozes all the freedom of open-top motoring for two.  Driving feeling with the roof open, silent roof opening, storage compartment behind the driver. Color Roadster: E-Copper | Carl

Both models comprise a high-voltage battery with significantly expanded cell capacity and energy content, the result being a remarkable increase in dynamic performance, operating range and the amount of driving possible using purely the electric drive system.

Both cars are characterised by a silent and locally emission-free open-top motoring to the full.

Underpinning this new level of electric driving experience is an updated version of the lithium-ion battery developed for the BMW i8. The high-voltage unit is located centrally in the car’s underbody.

In the standard driving mode, the new BMW i8 Coupe and new BMW i8 Roadster can be driven exclusively on the electric motor alone – from step-off to a speed of 105 km/h , which is up from 70 km/h in the original i8.

The combustion engine is only brought into play at higher speeds or when the driver stamps down hard on the accelerator, and is switched off again far more frequently when a measured driving style is maintained. Pressing the eDrive button allows both models to travel at up to 120 km/h on electric power alone.

How far can I drive on the Electric Battery in both cars?

The electric range of the new BMW i8 Coupe in the NEDC test cycle has increased to 55 kilometres (34 miles)* and the new BMW i8 Roadster posts a figure of 53 kilometres (33 miles)*.

The new BMW i8 Coupe accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds , while the new BMW i8 Roadster accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. Both models have an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h .

Hybrid-specific all-wheel drive, precision-tuned chassis. The electric motor’s power is transmitted to the front wheels and the engine’s drive to the rear wheels, resulting in a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system that is controlled by the car’s intelligent energy management.


In hybrid mode, the electric motor provides a power boost to assist the engine when the driver is accelerating with particular vigour. It is also able to recuperate energy and feed it to the high-voltage battery on the overrun and under braking.

The petrol engine’s high-voltage starter-generator can likewise generate additional reserves of electricity, thereby ensuring sufficient energy is on tap at all times for the electric drive system in the new BMW i8 Coupe and new BMW i8 Roadster.

When the navigation system’s route guidance function is activated , the intelligent energy management ensures the electric motor is employed as extensively as possible and as judiciously as possible from an efficiency point of view.

The system analyses the route in full and sets up the powertrain management to run on purely electric power, particularly over low-speed sections of the journey.

Both models are based on the LifeDrive vehicle architecture with aluminium chassis and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell.


Ok Carl but how does it look on the inside?

The new BMW i8 Coupe and new BMW i8 Roadster come with Carpo (leather elements) interior trim as standard, comprising full-leather upholstery in Ivory White for the Coupe and Ivory White/Black for the Roadster.

Standard specification also includes features such as a leather sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles, electrically adjustable and heated seats (much needed in the UK right now), the multifunctional instrument display, the Driving Assistant including Surround View, the BMW Display Key and the Navigation system Professional.

The main menu in the Control Display is now presented in the form of horizontally arranged tiles with a live mode.


The Roadster 

There are some features exclusive to the Roadster that might prove to be the icing on the cake.

The soft-top roof has a visual lightness to go with its low physical weight and serves as a defining element of the silhouette in reinforcing the road-hugging impression made by the car’s low centre of gravity.

The body’s dynamic wedge shape can also be best appreciated when viewing the two-seater in profile.

The familiar lightweight design measures used for previous BMW i models have been meticulously adapted to the specific requirements of the i8 Roadster.

The open-top two-seater comes with newly designed frameless gullwing doors made from CFRP with an aluminium outer shell, while the windscreen frame is made entirely from CFRP.

This ultra-strong high-tech material is ideally equipped to provide exceptional rigidity, maximising the car’s occupant protection even if it rolls over. CFRP is also used to manufacture the side skirts with their extra-large cross-section.

Additional struts and panels in the front and rear axles also help to maximise the body’s rigidity.

When opened, the BMW i8 Roadster’s broad roof retracts fully into the rear end. A unique mechanism allows the soft-top to be folded into a compact package and stowed away in a perpendicular position, creating around 100 litres of additional storage space behind the seats.

The all-electric roof opens and closes very quietly in 15 seconds, a process which can be initiated while travelling at up to 50 km/h. Dropping down the roof raises the rear window by around 30 millimetres into a comfort position, where it can serve as a draught stop.

Charging Roadster & Coupé

Numerous products and services offered as part of the 360° ELECTRIC portfolio are designed to help make electric mobility in the new BMW i8 Coupe and new BMW i8 Roadster a convenient and practical experience in everyday life.

Both models are supplied with a mode 2 charging cable as standard that enables the high-voltage battery to be recharged from a standard domestic socket in under four-and-a-half hours.

Hooking the vehicle up to a BMW i Wallbox allows charging to be performed at a rate of up to 3.6 kW and completed in under three hours.

The BMW i Wallbox Connect makes it possible to utilise the globally unique BMW Digital Charging Service – the key to intelligent charging which either optimises cost efficiency or ensures preferential use of self-generated solar power.