BMW i8.
BMW i8.

BMW’s updated hybrid supercar goes topless

BMW's i8 is a supercar like no other.

The Bavarian maker ditches outright speed for low emissions motoring - turning more heads for its spaceship looks than raucous exhaust note.

Now the supercar with a conscience has ditched its roof, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Prices start at $318,900 (before on-road costs) for the coupe and $348,900 for the open-top version.

The Roadster has a folding soft top that can be retracted at speeds up to 50km/h in 15 seconds.

Soft touch: New BMW i8 Roadster
Soft touch: New BMW i8 Roadster

A mid-life update brings increased battery capacity that lifts the electric-only range to 40km, limited to a top speed of 120km/h.

The plug-in hybrid combines a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine (170kW/320Nm) and an electric motor (105kW/250Nm).

The i8's 0-100km/h time sits in the mid-4 seconds range - while supercars of this price usually roam the sub-4 second territory.

But while its rivals chew through the fuel, the i8 uses a claimed 2.2L/100km for the coupe and 2.4L/100km for the roadster - numbers that put the Toyota Prius to shame.

An 80 per cent charge can be achieved via a conventional power outlet in two-and-a-half hours.

Minor cosmetic changes have been made with updated aerodynamic features, new 20-inch alloy wheels, carbon interior trim and contrast coloured seat belts. The two-tone paint colour options have been increased with a new grey and copper scheme.