LA 2017: BMW i8 Roadster

29 November 2017 | by Joe Simpson

BMW kicked off the LA auto show press schedule here, launching the i8 Roadster. Beyond the obvious questions this launch raises (why has it taken them three and half years to take the top off? What’s the future strategy for i cars vs electrified BMWs?) a few details caught our eye.

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The design is more of a targa than a true roadster — the roof opening is similar to the solution Ferrari employs with its spyder models.

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BMW stuck to its Frankfurt approach of covering the car with as many ‘Roadster’ badges as possible, but it was another, smaller label that caught our eye — the triangular yellow warnings, on display inside the lamp cans of the front laser lamps. The technology might be cutting edge, but the potential danger of a laser, if the light gets broken open (say in a crash) has clearly led to regulators insisting on BMW adding warning symbols inside the lamp unit. Once seen, you can’t un-see these yellow triangle warning signs, and they look oddly incongruous on the car’s face.

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It’s an example of the regulators impacting on design as a company pushes technology forwards. With the coming of autonomy, expect to see much more of this kind of stuff.

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LA 2017 BMW i8