BMW announces the production stop for the i8, coupé and roadster, starting in April. Here is an interview with Domagoj Dukec, head of design for the Bavarian brand, published in Auto&Design n.231 where he talks about the genesis and characteristics of the outgoing model.
“Our intention was clear right from the start: to design surfaces modelled by the wind to create a car that was unique of its kind”, says Domagoj Dukec, head of BMW design. Mission accomplished is the phrase that springs to mind. You just have to look at the i8 Roadster to have an immediate perception of the work his team has done in giving form to the passage of air across all body surfaces. The design team has managed to retain the same scenic presence as the coupé version, “preserving all those styling elements that have made the i8 Coupé a true icon”, explains Dukec.
The choice of materials that make up the open-top version of the i8 was dictated by the need for easy modelling potential. “For the exterior we used multiple plastics that allowed us to achieve an extremely original style. Also, thanks to the carbon chassis, we managed to retain the gullwing doors, which are an unusual, rare feature on a Roadster, but highly spectacular”. The rigid roof has given way to a lightweight canvas top that can be opened electrically in 15 seconds, even while moving up to a speed of 50 kph. “It’s a solution chosen for its appeal. Any self-respecting roadster must necessarily have a soft top, all of which obviously meant a structural reinforcement of the lower part of the car in order to increase its rigidity”, continues Dukec.
The i8 Roadster brings with it some aesthetic innovations, such as the new ventilation grille on the front bonnet, the “Roadster” wording on the rear pillars and the dedicated wheels. In addition to revisiting the styling, the engineering has also come under scrutiny with an increase in the KW of the electric motor. This, combined with the 1.5 three-cylinder thermal unit, brings the total power of the car to 374 horsepower. The result? Driving along in E-drive mode you can pleasantly glide round bends in complete silence for about 50 km and you have the completely new feeling of being in full contact with the surrounding countryside.
The development of the “i” range of the Munich company is following a different aesthetic-formal direction from that of the thermal engine models. “BMW i is a brand in its own right with a specific product portfolio. We started in 2013 from the i3 with the idea of creating a future 3-Series, a car with revolutionary forms and volumes. The i8 is our sports car that combines unique design with sustainable power, but more models are in the pipeline”, says Domagoj Dukec.