Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
If you’re in the market for a fast, flashy cabrio costing well over £100,000, you probably want it to sound rather racy. You might think the i8 Roadster’s Mini-derived 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine would roar like a dormouse, but it actually emits a fruity rasp.
Sure, you won’t get it confused with a thundering V8 or V10, but there are shades of Porsche 911 to the exhaust note. Even though some of that noise is generated by a speaker, the i8 does sound good.
Indeed, the steering is precise and the car changes direction very keenly, while the four-wheel drive system ensures it has loads of traction when you’re exiting tight bends. Although most people will appreciate the car’s sure-footedness, enthusiastic drivers might prefer the more playful nature of the 911 or R8.
As for the ride, it’s firm but not unbearably so, thanks in part to standard-fit adaptive dampers. You will notice a fair bit of road noise, but the hood does a good job of insulating you from wind noise. With the roof down, buffeting is kept to a minimum, so you can have a conversation with your passenger at motorway speeds. It takes 15 seconds to raise or lower the roof, and this can be done at up to 31mph.