BMW gives boost to its electric offerings
LAUNCH NEWS/ BMW has launched its i8 Roadster and updated i8 coupe as well as the upgraded i3, writes Lerato Matebese
Since BMW’s launch of its electrified subbrand in SA back in 2015, the Bavarian marque has since expanded its green offerings to spill into what is known as iPerformance models, essentially hybrid models of existing series cars including the 330e, 530e, 740e and the X5 xDrive40e.
Now the pioneers of the subbrand, the i3 and i8 coupe have received updates with the former now featuring a denser battery pack that takes the estimated driving range from 160km to 200km for the pure BEV (battery electric vehicle) version, which bodes well for South African buyers who usually commute longer distances than those in Europe. There continues to be a range extender version too, more affectionately known as a Rex, which now features a range increased from 260km to 360km. This is thanks largely to the bigger 94Ah (Ampere hours)/33kWh (kilowatt hour) battery pack. cylinder turbo engine still thumps out an exemplary 170kW and 320Nm, bringing the total system output to 275kW, which sees the coupe dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.4 seconds (4.6 seconds for the Roadster) and both models top out at 250km/h.
The big news for the i8 range though is the arrival of the new Roadster which, sadly, we only got to drive for 10km due to time constraints at the launch, although we did drive it in Mallorca in May and you can find our review online.
The highlights are that the model is specifically a twoseater and has a cloth roof that tucks snugly in a crevice just behind the cabin. The roof takes only 15 seconds to dance up or down and this can be done on the move at up to 50km/h. Also, the Roadster (R2,329,300) only commands a 60kg weight penalty over its coupe (R2,095,200) sibling and, while I cannot tell you how the vehicle performs on twisting roads with the roof down, it certainly draws more attention from bystanders than its tin-top version and that, alone, will likely make it the most popular model of the two.
The i3 now offers a claimed range of up to 200km for the pure electric version and 360km for the range extender. Below: The i8 Roadster is a definite head-turner.
The new BMW i3 gets subtle design updates including new LED lights. Right: The i8 is finally available as a Roadster.