A roadster version of BMW’s hybrid sports car, the i8 has been unveiled in Beijing ahead of an expected on sale date around 2014.
Like the i8 coupe, the Spyder is a plug-in hybrid using a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 220bhp to power the rear wheels and a 129bhp electric motor to drive the fronts. Expect to see a 0-62mph time of around five seconds.
Aside from the lack of a roof, the i8 Spyder does boast a few visual differences to the coupe concept, including solid metal doors and roll-over hoops.
BMW designer Adrian van Hooydonk walked Auto Express around the new car pointing out the differences between Spyder and coupé versions of the i8 and revealing his favourite parts of the car.
The Spyder has a shorter wheelbase and overall length than the coupe, while the hard top's back seats have also been ditched.
However, like the coupé and the i3 supermini, the Spyder features a new BMW design feature christened Streamflow by van Hooydonk. “It’s where two lines converge from the roof and the side of the car,” he explained, “On the Spyder, air passes through it to improve downforce, but in the i3, for example, there’s a window where the two lines meet.”
Van Hooydonk’s other favourite view of the Spyder is from above looking down onto the back of the car. “You get a great view of the deck at the back of the car, where we’ve put two Kickboards, our powered scooters.”
The Kickboard is part of BMW i’s ‘mobility solution’, the idea being that you get only so far in your i car, then use the Kickboard to complete your journey. The Kickboard is like a scooter that uses electric power to provide an extra boost in addition to your own efforts.
The i8 Spyder also debut’s BMW’s eDrive sub brand. The eDrive badge will appear on all the company’s plug-in electric-powered cars in the future.
Part of the i8 Spyder’s efficiency comes from BMW’s LifeDrive construction – which consists of a carbon fibre body and mainly aluminium chassis – ensuring weight is kept to around 1,600kgs, despite the heavy batteries on board. That helps the Spyder return claimed average fuel economy of 94mpg with a 17 mile range on electric power alone.
Expect the i8 Spyder to have a price tag of around £90,000.