Roadster, spyder. You have probably come across these terms when reading about supercars. A quick example that comes to mind is the Ferrari 458 Spyder or the more recent Tesla Roadster, proclaimed in 2017 to be the fastest car in the world.
So, what exactly is a roadster? Has it go anything to do with powerful engines? Indeed, it does. A roadster is generally defined as a two-seater car with exceptional road performance.
In the past, roadsters where offered as an option for most vehicle classes and brands, going back as far as Ford Model T and Austin 7. Particular features would include seats placed further back than on a regular touring vehicle and no weather protection.
Initially, roadsters were fitted with the bare minimum features in order to save weight and increase performance. This went as far as removing doors and leaving an interrupted bodywork profile. As time passed, roadsters became fitted with side-windows and windshields. It wasn’t long until features found on convertibles became standard on roadsters as well.
Today, roadsters present as performance-oriented vehicles but also feature enhanced comfort elements such as heated seats, premium audio systems, climate control or semi-autonomous driving.
Also, in the current automotive industry, roadsters don’t necessarily represent solely open-top cars. BMW i8 is a good example for the subject at hand. Not until a few years now, roadsters were solely powered by internal combustion engines. Now that electric motors have become more powerful and affordable, we get to see full electric units such as Tesla Roadster (which reaches 60mph in just 2.2 seconds).
The general roadster market is oriented towards a younger public from the upper hierarchy or just-retired seniors planning their extra-free time.
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