The most expensive BMW car sold in the United States? That’ll be the new BMW i8 Roadster, with a starting price of $163,300, some $20k up from the coupe. The open-top hybrid specialty will be available in March.
The i8 Roadster debuted together with the updated coupe in late November. The original i8 was unveiled all the way back in 2014, but it took this long for the Roadster to join the ranks. It has an electric folding top that takes less than 16 seconds to strut its stuff, stowing itself where the 2+2 rear seats of the coupe once were. You can operate the top on the go at speeds up to 31 mph. There are noteworthy features about the top other than the folding mechanism and the fact that the rear window works as a wind deflector; the construction of the roof panel involves aluminum bracing created via 3D printing.
The Roadster weighs 132 pounds more than the coupe, but BMW says there isn’t a performance drawback — 60 mph is reached in 4.2 seconds with the 1.5-liter turbo three and its electric motor companion, putting out 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, with a separate 141 hp/184 lb-ft electric motor for the front wheels.
If you’re going for the base model, there’s what BMW calls E-Copper leather, 20-inch two-tone wheels, HUD and heated seats, so it’s not like you have to live with stuffy cloth, plastic hubcaps, wind-up windows and cassette radio. (Just kidding, those are probably reserved for the Scandinavia-only thrift special.) Base colors are the E-Copper, Sophisto Grey and Donington Grey, but there are $1,800 special colors available. Options range from a $2,500 brake package to Laserlight headlights ($6,300).