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2019 BMW i8 Roadster Drivers’ Notes Review | The world of tomorrow

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A few years back,


released the




, two cars that — even several years on — look and feel like the future. While the i3 was a car for the masses, the i8 (

and this new Roadster variant

) was built for those that want a performance car with some genuine green credentials and a far-out design. It’s not the fastest car on four wheels, but it is one of the most interesting.


2019 BMW i8

Roadster isn’t cheap. It starts at $164,295 and our tester’s sole option — the $2,500 Terra World Copper package — brings the price to $166,795. It’s basically an appearance package that adds copper-colored leather seats, black brake calipers and light-up i8 badges. Yes, there are a lot of cars you can get for that money, but few will turn as many heads as this BMW.

Associate Editor Reese Counts:

Like the

Acura NSX

, the i8 is a car you can’t measure solely on performance. You have to have an appreciation for the technology and engineering that went into a car like this if you’re going to buy one. If you’re doing the horsepower-per-dollar


, you might as well buy something stuffed with a Hellcat engine and be done with it, because you’re sure as hell not getting much in the way of value here. That’s OK. That’s not what the i8 is all about, and not everything needs 707 horsepower and a V8 that sounds like a cocaine-addled bumblebee.

The i8 looks like “the future” both inside and out. There’s a presence you don’t get with other

cars at this price

point. Sure, the butterfly doors and carbon-fiber tub make it a pain to get in and out of, but they’re so cool. Contributing Editor James Riswick warned me to watch out for the A-pillar on the roadster, so you should, too. Once you’re inside, the i8 is actually a comfortable place to be. The seat is comfortable, and controls are well placed. It’s tight, but what

sports car


I like the way the i8 drives, too. The steering is light and quick and the chassis responds with grace to inputs. The ride strikes a nice balance between sporty and harsh, erring on the relaxed side of firm. There’s plenty of grip thanks to the all-wheel drive system (electric motors up front). I do wish it was a bit quicker, but pure speed isn’t what the i8 is all about. I loved being able to roll around with the top down and the gasoline engine shut off. I don’t know if the i8 is for me, but I’m glad it exists.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale:

Despite being four years old already, the

BMW i8

is still a stunner in the looks department. It really does look like the hypercar of the future. It’s low, wide, with loads of crazy curves and cavities that give it a look all its own. I love that about it. But man, there’s not a lot else that I love about it.

That’s not to say it’s a bad car, but I feel like the futuristic looks aren’t backed up by much else. The turbo three-cylinder is a growly little thing, the 30 miles of electric range are solid, and it handles well. But none of it really wows me while driving. In fact, parts of it had me furrowing my brow in confusion. For instance, the steering feels overboosted and insensitive. And the 369 horsepower makes it reasonably peppy, but considering its exotic looks, feels like a bit of a letdown. Also, forget driving it if you have any flexibility issues or joint pains, because getting in and out is a chore and a half.

The bigger problem is the pricetag. The coupe starts at just under $150,000, and our roadster starts at over $160,000. And I know that it has lots of fancy carbon fiber and a

plug-in hybrid

powertrain, but the result is a car that underperforms compared with base Corvettes and 911s. And those both cost substantially less. Then, in the $150,000+ segment you have vastly more impressive cars such as the

Audi R8


Porsche 911

GT3 and Acura NSX, among others. The only reason to get one of these is if you want


looks with decent

fuel economy

and not a whole lot else.

Video Production Manager Eddie Sabatini:

Buyer beware, when driving the i8 roadster you’re gonna get people screaming at you. “Nice car!” “What is that?” “What series is that?” “How much did that set you back?” All examples of exclamations you can expect to hear, especially with the top dropped. The i8 is stunning, and when I see one drive by I always do a double take, so the pedestrians shouting at me didn’t really surprise me.

Once you contort your body to get in I found it actually quite comfortable. The i8 already had a nice profile and the roadster with top dropped doesn’t disappoint either. Some say that it’s overpriced for the performance you get and it’s hard to argue this since $166K can get you a lot of car (Acura NSX, Mercedes-AMG


, Porsche 911



But what the i8 has that most other vehicles don’t (aside from the super cool frameless scissor doors) is the future-looking design. I’d probably argue that the i3, with its lounge like interior, goes even further than the i8, but I like what BMW has done with the i8 in taking their driver-focused roots and sprinkling it with some futuristic spaceship vibes. “But it doesn’t drive like a spaceship!” Sure, but it’s not boring to drive, so I’m inclined to give the “underwhelming” performance a pass.

Related Video:

from Autoblog