LOS ANGELES -- BMW is giving its i line of electrified vehicles a boost with a softtop convertible version of its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
"With this open top two-seater we are going for the pole position in this open hybrid sports car segment,” BMW development chief Klaus Froehlich said at the car's unveiling at the auto show here on Wednesday.
BMW is equipping the i8 roadster, and the i8 coupe which gets a midlife face-lift, with updated plug-in hybrid technology that increases the electric-only driving range and horsepower.
Battery cell capacity is increased to 34 ampere hours from 20Ah, allowing the i8 roadster to drive 53 km (33 miles) and the i8 coupe 55 km (34 miles) under electric power in the European testing cycle. The electric range of both cars is about 18 miles (29 km) under stricter U.S. tests.
The electric motor's maximum output has been increased by 12 hp to 143 hp while the three-cylinder gasoline engine has an unchanged output of 231 hp. The roadster has combined CO2 emissions of 46 grams per km and the coupe 42 g/km.
The i8 roadster's fabric roof can open and close in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 50 kph (32 mph).