BMW Malaysia has officially launched the new BMW i8 Coupe, several months after the updated petrol-electric hybrid sports car made its global debut in November 2017 alongside its roadster sibling.

The biggest changes involve the car’s powertrain, whereby the 355-volt battery now features an increased cell capacity (34 Ah from the previous 20 Ah) and higher gross energy capacity (11.6 kWh from 7.1 kWh). The result is more electric range, which is now rated at 55 km, or 50% more than its predecessor.

Improvements have also been made to the electric motor that drives the front wheels, which continues to be linked to a two-speed automatic gearbox. It now outputs 141 hp (105 kW), which is a 12 hp (9 kW) increase.

While the electrical aspects have been enhanced, the BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5 litre three-cylinder engine remains unchanged, making 228 hp and 320 Nm of torque that goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed Steptronic transmission.

Working together, the overall system output is rated at 369 hp, which is enough to propel the i8 Coupe from a rest to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds, and limited top speed of 250 km/h (same as before). The fuel economy is a claimed 1.8 l/100 km and the car emits 42 g/km of CO2 – both figures are improvements from previously.

As this is still a plug-in hybrid model, you can charge the battery by connecting it to a domestic power socket (10 A, 230 V), with a full charge being reached in about 4.5 hours. Using a dedicated 3.7-kW i Wallbox (16 A, 230 V), it’ll take about three hours to achieve the same.

In terms of visual updates, the i8 now comes with an Air Shutter on the bonnet, which is an active aero feature that opens or closes depending on cooling versus aerodynamic needs.

The airflow at the front of the car has been tweaked to accommodate this, with the air being directed to the sides of the car near the wheel arches and into the underbody rather than exiting through the outlet in the bonnet when less cooling is needed.

Elsewhere, there’s also the addition of ‘Coupe’ badging on the C-pillar and the car rides on Jet Black 20-inch light-alloy wheels in a radial-spoke design (Style 516) like the i8 Roadster, with staggered tyre sizes (215/45 front and 245/40 rear). The available paint finishes include Jet Black, Crystal White with Frozen Grey highlights, or Donington Grey from the BMW Individual selection.

Beyond these changes, the exterior remains largely unchanged from before. We still get the attention-grabbing dihedral doors, Air Curtains in the front apron, a sealed underbody, countoured side skirts, “stream flow” lines on the flanks, and air ducts between the rear lights and roof frame.

Moving inside, the i8 Coupe comes with a ceramic surround for the gear lever and bezel for the iDrive controller. There’s also ‘Drycarbon’ interior trim, an anthracite headliner and ‘Spheric’ leather upholstery in either Gigia Amido or Accaro E-Copper. The dashboard layout remains pleasantly familiar, but gains a new, configurable colour heads-up display and the latest version of Navigation System Professional.

The latter works with the car’s iDrive operating system, Touch Controller on the centre console, an 8.8-inch freestanding display as well as a 600-watt Harman Kardon surround sound system. Other items on the kit list include LED headlamps with high-beam assist, Park Distance Control, powered seats, ambient lighting system and a dual-zone climate control system.

If you want the keys to one of BMW’s most recognisable models, the price of ownership is a cool RM1,310,800 on-the-road without insurance. Included in the sum is a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled service programme, a two-year tyre warranty programme, roadside assistance, BMW Service Online and BMW White Card membership (with access to the BMW Group Loyalty+ mobile app).

An alternative is the Balloon Financing Plan from BMW Credit, which allows you to own the new i8 Coupe with monthly instalment plans starting from RM15,088 (based on estimates of an 80% loan on a five-year tenure).

For more information and detailed specification of the new BMW i8, head on over to CarBase.my.