2019 BMW i8 Convertible

Type:

What’s new

  • More power and EV range this year
  • New convertible model
  • Part of the first i8 generation introduced for 2014

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent integration of powertrain and in-car technology
  • Futuristic design turns plenty of heads
  • Clean interior that differentiates itself from other BMWs
  • Odd powertrain and high price guarantee exclusivity
  • Performance lags behind competitors
  • Difficult to get in and out of
  • Few available advanced driving aids
  • Powertrain is a little unrefined for a car at this price
Other years
MSRP Starting at
$163,300

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Which i8 does Edmunds recommend?

After you decide on going topless with the new i8 convertible or keeping the carbon fiber above your head with the i8 Coupe, there's not much to choose from. We haven't tested an i8 with the optional laser headlights, but getting to tell your friends, "It has freakin' lasers!" could very well be worth the price of admission alone.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.5 / 10

In almost every way, the 2019 BMW i8 is a supercar. Its outrageous and futuristic styling draws looks from down the block, its wild flip-up doors announce your presence whenever they're opened, and the entirety of BMW's performance catalog is crammed into its low-slung carbon-composite frame. Yet, it also goes one step further — it's also a green-oriented car.

The i8 has a plug-in hybrid powertrain that's used to generate both impressive performance and high fuel economy. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine produces 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and drives the rear wheels. An electric motor that peaks at 141 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque drives the front wheels. In total, the i8 develops a total of 369 hp. Powering the motor is an 11.6-kWh battery, which allows the i8 to go up to 18 miles in pure electric mode. But mainly, it's used to fill in gaps in torque from the small engine and augment traction coming out of corners.

Two body styles are available for the 2019 i8: a 2+2 coupe and a new soft-top convertible. Unsurprisingly, the coupe's rear seats are small and ideal for kids, or kids at heart. The convertible model forgoes the rear seats and uses an electric system to enable the top to fold or deploy in about 15 seconds. It can even do it while the car is in motion at speeds of up to 30 mph.

There's just one problem. Supercars are known for their bold appearances and outrageous performance, but the i8 comes up a little short on the latter. It has a top speed of 155 mph and a claimed 0-60 mph acceleration time of 4.2 seconds. Those are certainly fun-inducing numbers, but they're nowhere near what similarly priced sports cars can do. Handling capability is also underwhelming for the class. And as neat as those upward-opening doors are, it's difficult to squeeze yourself between them and the high, wide doorsills.

If all you're looking for are performance numbers, the i8 is probably not the car for you. Instead, consider the i8 a rolling technology showcase, one that shows that a complete reliance on fossil fuels for propulsion is not needed to have a good time.

2019 BMW i8 models

The 2019 BMW i8 is available as a coupe or soft-top convertible. The i8 Coupe features 2+2 seating, while the i8 Roadster subs out the seats in exchange for the roof mechanism. Both models use the same plug-in hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 369 horsepower. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission power the rear wheels, and an electric motor drives the front wheels through a two-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, a driver-adjustable suspension, LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights, running lights and taillights), automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and driver-seat memory settings.

You also get a head-up display, a navigation system, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface with an 8.8-inch central display screen, a USB port, a Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio and HD radio. Also included are BMW Apps (smartphone app integration), BMW Remote Services (remote-based functions done from a smartphone) and Apple CarPlay (subscription-based).

The optional Tera World package adds special interior trim and unique cloth and leather upholstery. Laser headlights are also available.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the BMW i8 Coupe (turbo 1.5L inline-3 plug-in hybrid | 6-speed and 2-speed automatics | AWD).

Scorecard

Overall7.5 / 10
Driving7.5
Comfort8.0
Interior7.5
Utility6.5
Technology6.5

Driving

7.5

The BMW i8 has exotic styling and the performance to back it up ... mostly. Acceleration is quick as long as you've got the car placed in Sport mode. In our testing, the i8 sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. In the other driving modes, it becomes more ordinary. It's also worth mentioning that a lot of other performance cars these days are quicker still.

The i8 can seem clumsy in city traffic because of its grabby brakes and noticeable transition from electric to gasoline engine power. It's just not a particularly smooth car to drive. Out on the open road, the i8 is more fun to drive. The car's handling limits are easily approachable, even if they are a bit modest.

Comfort

8.0

From the outside, the i8's sleek styling might make you think it's a car that will take quite the commitment to put up with. The seats, too, look uncomfortable. But looks can be deceiving since the i8 offers comfortable seating (for two, anyway) and, at least as performance cars go, a reasonably compliant and smooth ride quality.

There's not much wind noise, but the road noise more than makes up for it. It's constant, especially on the highway. To drown it out, you'll have to crank up the sound system. We do like the climate control system. The A/C is strong, and there are plenty of air vents.

Interior

7.5

The simplicity of the i8's interior can, at first, be underappreciated. BMW has kept the controls basic, and anyone who has spent any time in a BMW over the past 10 years will immediately be comfortable interacting with the i8. The interior is not as space-age as the exterior, but that's just fine by us. You can just concentrate on the fun part: driving. The driving position is excellent and caters to a variety of body types. Forward visibility is excellent.

Getting in and out is something you'll either look forward to or dread. The upward-opening doors are easy to open and close. But getting in requires a bit of a slide down, and climbing out can't really be done gracefully. But if you just think the doors look cool, it's probably worth the effort.

Utility

6.5

No one's going to accuse the i8 of being overly practical, but it can function as a daily driver thanks to its efficient use of cargo space. Three grocery bags can fit in its 4.7 cubic feet of trunk space. That's less than what you get from an Audi R8 or Mercedes AMG GT but more than the Acura NSX.

The i8 benefits from having back seats no matter how impractical they might be. They do double duty as an interior storage shelf for larger items such as backpacks and jackets. There's even a bit of storage in the center console — just don't expect it to hold more than a phone, charging cables and some sunglasses.

Technology

6.5

The i8's older iDrive system might not offer the flash of a newer competitor's interface, but it certainly gets the job done. Navigation is quick to use and easy to read on the road, and the audio system does a good job of getting loud while maintaining clarity and balance.

The i8 falls short on other fronts, especially in this price range. Android Auto isn't supported, and even Apple CarPlay requires a subscription after a free one-year trial. The i8 is also lacking in some now nearly ubiquitous driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and high-speed emergency braking. You do get forward collision warning and low-speed emergency braking. Thankfully, both of those systems are not overly sensitive.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2019 BMW i8.

5 star reviews: 100%
4 star reviews: 0%
3 star reviews: 0%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 0%
Average user rating: 5.0 stars based on 2 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • handling & steering
  • electrical system
  • warranty
  • acceleration
  • driving experience
  • ride quality

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars, Absolutely amazing experience into the future
Jim K,
2dr Convertible AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A)

I have been driving my i8 roadster for a month. What an experience! The handling has been much improved and extended battery certainly makes more sense now. Fit and finish has been stepped up and at he top in super car range. I find performance more than adequate. Other cars achieve better acceleration because of launch control. In daily driving no one uses launch control anyway; i8 achieves optimal acceleration without launch control which is a plus. Handling is awesome and ride much better than any car similar in its class. This car rides like a coupe. Most convertibles suffer from structural rigidity which can affect handling and ride. The i8 roadster doesn’t; this is a huge plus!

5 out of 5 stars, Impressive and Sexy BMW I8
Lisa ,
2dr Convertible AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A)

I’ve been driving my new convertible i8 for the last couple months and have to say I am very happy and impressed with the look, performance and fuel economy.

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Features & Specs

2dr Convertible AWD features & specs
2dr Convertible AWD
1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A
MSRP$163,300
MPG N/A city / N/A hwy
SeatingSeats 2
Transmission6-speed shiftable automatic
HorsepowerN/A
See all for sale
See all 2019 BMW i8 Convertible features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite i8 safety features:

ConnectedDrive Services
Lets you know about traffic and parking spots and, in case of accidents, can connect you to BMW's Accident Assistance for vehicle support.
BMW Laserlight
Helps drivers see farther down dark roads, with advanced laser projection technology.
Active Driving Assistant
Warns of potential front collisions with vehicles or pedestrians and if the i8 is about to leave its lane.

BMW i8 vs. the competition

BMW i8 vs. Audi R8

While both models feature the number 8, the execution is totally different. The i8's smooth hybrid powertrain is much more efficient and can operate in electric-only mode. Plus, its iDrive system is easier to use and features better smartphone connectivity and integration. The R8 wins out with its speed, handling and sonorous V10 engine. Read Edmunds' long-term road test of the Audi R8.

Compare BMW i8 & Audi R8 features

BMW i8 vs. Tesla Model S

Aside from the ability to plug in for charging, these two cars couldn't be more different. The i8 represents the designer's choice, or the one you want to drive along a winding road during sunset. The Tesla's more conservative and classy approach is augmented by its brutal Ludicrous mode. The i8 wins out in the dynamic handling category. Read Edmunds' long-term road test of the Tesla Model S.

Compare BMW i8 & Tesla Model S features

BMW i8 vs. BMW M4

The M4 is the purist's choice because of its powerful and tractable engine, sticky tires and six-speed manual transmission. On a twisty road, it's quite possible the M4 is the quicker car. But the i8 is an event, especially when you pull up to the valet line in electric mode and swing up the i8's doors. It also has decent green-car cred, unlike the gas-swilling M4.

Compare BMW i8 & BMW M4 features

FAQ

Is the BMW i8 a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2019 i8 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.5 out of 10. You probably care about BMW i8 fuel economy, so it's important to know that the i8 gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the i8 has 2.3 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a BMW i8. Learn more
What's new in the 2019 BMW i8?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2019 BMW i8:

  • More power and EV range this year
  • New convertible model
  • Part of the first i8 generation introduced for 2014
Learn more
Is the BMW i8 reliable?
To determine whether the BMW i8 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the i8. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the i8's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2019 BMW i8 a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2019 BMW i8 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2019 i8 and gave it a 7.5 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2019 i8 is a good car for you. Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2019 BMW i8?

The least-expensive 2019 BMW i8 is the 2019 BMW i8 2dr Convertible AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $163,300.

Other versions include:

  • 2dr Convertible AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A) which starts at $163,300
Learn more
What are the different models of BMW i8?
If you're interested in the BMW i8, the next question is, which i8 model is right for you? i8 variants include 2dr Convertible AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A). For a full list of i8 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2019 BMW i8

The 2019 BMW i8 looks more like a car of the future than something you can buy off a BMW dealer lot today. It's almost ludicrously low. Its styling is beyond the dreams of George Jetson, and the plug-in gas-electric hybrid drivetrain may as well be classified as science fiction. And this is a supercar that's built to be environmentally aware. It's an exotic sports car that exudes virtue.

Describing the dance between all the elements of the drivetrain could fill volumes. There's a turbocharged inline three-cylinder gas engine in the middle that combines with a battery-powered electric motor for delivery to the rear wheels. Then there's a second electric motor in front that drives the front wheels. Add up all the various components and there's 369 horsepower available to propel both coupe and convertible versions of the i8.

It's enough to push (and pull) the i8 to 60 mph in only about 4.5 seconds. It's not the only hybrid sports car out there, but it's the only plug-in that comes in convertible form. Still, the competitor that comes closest in price is the new Acura NSX. It's good company to keep.

With such a complex drivetrain, just reporting the fuel economy numbers can be mind-boggling. Running strictly on electricity, the EPA rates the i8 at the equivalent of 76 mpg. Running solely on gasoline, it's a combined 28 mpg. The number that may be most impressive is that, when gas and electricity are both used, the total range of the i8 is 330 miles.

All these tech details obscure the bottom line about the i8: It's a blast to drive. It's quick, it handles well, and it doesn't beat you up doing it. It's also comfortable for cruising across whichever continent needs crossing, and it's fun to whip along mountain roads. Plus, it attracts astonishing amounts of attention. This is the car you need for profiling in Miami Beach or Beverly Hills. They'd probably like it in Nebraska and Kentucky, too.

With its wide sills and low roof, there's no way to get into an i8 with any elegance. But you can get into an i8 at a great price by using the tools available to you right here on Edmunds.

2019 BMW i8 Convertible Overview

The 2019 BMW i8 Convertible is offered in the following styles: 2dr Convertible AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A).

What do people think of the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2019 i8 Convertible 5.0 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2019 i8 Convertible.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2019 i8 Convertible featuring deep dives into trim levels including Base, etc. with careful analysis around pricing, features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving and performance. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Read our full review of the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible here.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2019 BMW i8 Convertible?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on new cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which 2019 BMW i8 Convertibles are available in my area?

2019 BMW i8 Convertible Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2019 [object Object] i8 Convertible for sale near you.

Can't find a new 2019 BMW i8 Convertible i8 Convertible you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new BMW i8 for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $13,610.

Find a new BMW for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $14,911.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible and all available trim types: Base. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2019 BMW i8 Convertible include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2019 BMW i8 Convertible?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out BMW lease specials