2019 BMW i8 Roadster essentials: Look at me (now!)

Our Opinion: Ah, so we meet again. I’ve struggled with wrapping my mind around the BMW i8 before, but it eventually won out. The i8 Coupe is a hilariously futuristic-looking hybrid that scratches an itch that nothing else can scratch. It exists in isolation in terms of features, styling and performance. Now, with the addition of the Roadster, it’s a little more complicated. My first instinct with the Roadster was to do what should always be done with a convertible — drop the top and let in the rays of (admittedly cloud-diffused) sun. After stashing the top away in its hiding place, I rolled the windows down — only to remember one of the idiosyncrasies of the i8: The side glass doesn’t retreat completely into the door. A minor problem with the Coupe is only amplified with the Roadster’s open-air aspirations. With some of the door glass still standing proud of the door, I slid the top back in place with a push of a button and rolled the windows up.
Limited to only 18 miles of range, the i8 Roadster’s EV capabilities won’t take you too far, but it was good enough to slide out of the Autoweek headquarters with only a whirr of an electric motor and noise from the tires. When you want to drive quickly, you shove the shifter into sport mode, which kicks the engine on. Accelerating in sport mode is better than the sub-300-hp figure suggests: You’ll move quickly from 30 mph to highway speeds just by mashing the accelerator. Getting going from standing starts can cause some hesitation as the car tries to figure out how to best move you, but after a few milliseconds of delay you’re off and away.