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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the new BMW i8 Roadster

The only reason I am writing this review is to brag (ok it’s also because I sort of have to, but mainly, it’s to brag). I got to drive the ONLY BMW i8 Roadster in South Africa last week. That’s right people, my job f%#ing rules!

By now you will know what BMW’s i-lineup is, right? Don’t fret if you don’t, that’s what I am here for. It is bascially BMW’s electric sub brand, if you will. They are caring for the environment, you see. This is the third model in the i line-up, the first two being the i3 and the i8 Coupe – which, interestingly, has been the highest-selling hybrid sports car since it launched back in 2014. And according to cars.co.za, the i cars have become so popular that, globally, BMW sells more i cars than M cars.

Back to the BMW i8 Roadster, because, well…just look at it!

BMW i8 Roadster

PS. I took these pics myself! You can clap if you want, I would.

The i8 Roadster forms part of the facelifted i8 range and includes a few design tweaks here and there. The distinct (now frameless) gullwing doors still attract a lot of attention and the electrically operated roof opens and closes in 15 seconds at speeds of 50 km/h…which can also draw a fair amount of attention. In fact, it is safe to say that if you hate attention, this car is certainly not going to work for you. I drove with another blonde colleague of mine and believe me, we both struggled to get out of the cars…not only because of the awkward way one has to attempt this, but because our heads had certainly grown larger from all the attention we received.

So what powers a plug-in hybrid sports car you ask? Well it has a 1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine which sends power to the rear wheels (170 kW/ 320 N.m) and is combined with an electric motor (105 kW/250 N.m) mounted on the front axle. All of this means fuel consumption is a ridiculous 2.1l/100 km. And you can drive in electric mode at speeds of up to 105 km/h, previously it was only 70 km/h. And just in case you wanted to know how quick it is, you can shoot to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds. Look, this is not going to be the fastest sports car ever made, obviously! It is more about the environment than it is about the thrill, although, some are thrilled by the thought of helping the environment, soooooo…. anyway, moving on. With that said, before I move on, this is still a driver enthusiast car which means you will have a whale of a time throwing it in to corners and being grateful that it sticks to the road like shit to a blanket. It is an exciting drive whichever way you look at it.

This is a car that will turn heads and like I mentioned earlier, draw a LOT of attention. Especially, if like me, you smack your head on the doors every time you get in or out of the car. And a side note to those who like wearing skirts…do NOT attempt to get in or out of this car unless you are wearing something that covers your crumpet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

PRICING FOR NEW BMW i8 ROADSTER AND COUPE

eDrive Roadster      R2 329 300
eDrive Coupe          R2 095 200

Watch my video on the BMW X2.

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