Five years ago, BMW introduced the world to the i Series of electrified cars with a concept roadster version of what would eventually evolve into the i8 plug-in-hybrid coupe. It now looks like that original vision is being readied for production and the world may get a glimpse of it in the flesh at this fall’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
The company has released a 20-second teaser video of the i8 Roadster, and though the reveal is heavily camouflaged, there are some clues to what the finished product will look like. For starters, it looks as though the new convertible will have a fabric roof, which seems to be more of targa-type bodystyle than a traditional roadster.
That’s good on a couple levels. First, it allows the car to retain a coupe-like profile, with the buttresses flying back from the seat headrests; and secondly, it allows the car to use butterfly doors (as did the BMW i8 Concept Spyder revealed at Auto China 2012 in Beijing).
The front and rear fascias have been considerably changed from those of the open-top model we first saw five years ago, but they are instantly indicative of the futuristic look of the i Series cars.
The rest is speculation, with the roadster expected to get an enhanced version of the powertrain from the i8 coupe — 1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder and a synchronous motor fueled by a 7.1 kWh lithium ion battery. Since BMW doesn’t like to simply drop an existing powertrain into a new vehicle, expect some power boosts and possibly extended range from a bigger battery pack.
More details are expected to be released in the build-up to the world debut.