Report: BMW i8 Roadster to debut at 2017 LA auto show

2019 BMW i8 Roadster spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

BMW is working on a mid-cycle update for its i8, and as part of the update the plug-in hybrid sports car will be available as a convertible.

The convertible version of the i8 will be known as the i8 Roadster, and according to Automotive News (subscription required) we’ll see it debut in November at the 2017 Los Angeles auto show. Sales are expected to follow in the spring of 2018.

BMW was previously thought to be bringing the i8 Roadster to the 2017 Frankfurt auto show this September. The automaker is now rumored to be bringing a fuel cell-powered X7 concept to the German show.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien2019 BMW i8 Roadster spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Prototypes for the i8 Roadster have been spotted. They show a design similar to that of the i8 Spyder concept unveiled as far back as 2012. Like the concept, the production i8 Roadster will be more of a targa than a true convertible.

The car will feature the latest updates pegged for the i8 range. The most significant will likely be increased power and electric range. While the powertrain will remain a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 at the rear axle and an electric motor at the front axle, tuning of the engine and a bigger battery should deliver improvements to the current 420 horsepower and 15 miles of electric range.

A much more substantial update is expected for the car’s redesign, due around 2022. There are rumors BMW will go with a pure electric powertrain for the next-generation i8, with the rumors strengthened by BMW’s recent decision to enter Formula E.