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2019 BMW i8 Roadster Arrives Alongside Updated Coupe

Roadster drops top in 16 seconds; both offer 369 horsepower

After months of spy shots in the wild, the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster finally made its world premiere at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show—the best town on the planet for its debut.

The two-seat roadster offers a full electric drop-top that opens in 16 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

Also, the BMW eDrive tech gets a power bump of 12 ponies and now delivers 369 hp for the coupe and the all-new roadster variant.

Both cars are powered by an electric motor and a twin-turbo three-cylinder engine with 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

The three-cylinder engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor moves the front wheels with a little help from a two-speed automatic gearbox.

BMW says that battery cell capacity has increased from 20 to 34 ampere hours and gross energy capacity from 7.1 to 11.6 kilowatt hours, which helps raise the electric motor's peak output to 184 lb-ft of torque.

This allows both models to travel up to 18 miles in all-electric mode. The combined system output has increased to 369 hp and the coupe can zip from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, while drop-top gets there in 4.4. Not too shabby.

Both models have a limited top speed of 155 mph, which is plenty fast for most trips to the market.

Combined fuel economy for both models return comes in at around 70 MPGe, according to BMW.

The plug-in 2+2-seater BMW i8 Coupe was first introduced in 2014. The new 2019 BMW i8 Roadster seats only two because its all-season fabric soft-top needs space to fold vertically in a Z-shape. Granted, there really wasn't much room for rear passengers anyway.

BMW opines that additional storage space between the roof box and the seats for the driver and front passenger is around 3.5 feet and the rear storage area can squeeze in approximately 4.7 feet of cargo.

New paint flavors for 2019 include E-Copper metallic and Donington Gray metallic with accents in Frozen Gray metallic.

Also new for 2019 is the Tera World Copper interior trim with cloth/leather upholstery in an Amido/E-Copper color scheme, says BMW.

BMW claims the unladen weight of the new BMW i8 Roadster is 3,513 pounds, just 132 pounds more than the coupe.

Both models offer five driving modes that include hybrid drive with comfort, sport, or eco pro, and all-electric driving in comfort or eco pro mode.

Pricing will be announced closer to market launch, but expect to pay at least $145,000 for the coupe and a bit more than that for the roadster.

Both 2019 BMW i8s go on sale this spring, which isn't soon enough for us.