QUESTION. What’s the difference between a BMW i8 Roadster costing £124,730 and a 13-year-old MX-5 costing £2,000?
Er, £122,730 obviously. But apart from that, not much at all. My point is this, once you put the roof down on a car everything else about it is much less important.
And you get the same sensations — the same views, the same wind in you hair, the same sunburned bonce — in a battered old MX-5 as you would in an i8.
Except you don’t. Not really. The i8 Roadster is light years ahead of any other drop-top I’ve driven, not just for its jaw-on-the-floor looks but for its heroic hybrid tech.
It can do up to 30 miles in pure electric mode — at speeds up to 75mph.
Yes, you can save the world in this car, buddy, and look damn good while you’re at it.
Key Facts: BMW i8 ROADSTER
Power: Petrol/electric, 1.5-litre 3cyl turbo petrolwith 11.6kWh battery
Total output: 374hp
0-62mph: 4.6 secs
Top speed: 155mph
Take my test drive in Majorca the other day. I had a riot threading my way up and down Sa Calobra — one of the best mountain roads in the world ever — in Sport mode. It kindly recharges the battery as you drive.
Then, when you arrive in a village, select EV mode and glide along in glorious silence. Zero emissions, maximum pleasure.
Under the skin, there’s a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo (built in Britain, whoop, whoop) driving the rear wheels paired with an 11.6kWh electric motor propelling the front wheels.
It has a total output of 374hp and can box off 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. It feels sharper than that. But here’s the rub: CO2 emissions are just 46g/km.
I’ll finish by sharing a little secret with you. BMW has only created the i8 Roadster in response to demand from the beautiful people in LA.
It didn’t engineer the original i8 coupe with a convertible in mind.
So they just hacked the roof off one, added extra body bracing and crash-tested it. It was all good.
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You might also notice the i8 Roadster is a two-seater, sacrificing the two child seats in the coupe to house the folded roof. And it has its own frameless scissor doors.
Sports blaster, eco warrior and now topless poser.
I liked it a lot.
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