BMW has revealed the future of its performance cars with a spectacularly styled concept that matches M3-rivalling performance to Mini levels of fuel economy. It was officially unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show.
The Vision Efficient Dynamics concept is a showcase for BMW’s lightweight body construction, advanced hybrid-drive technology and new packaging and aerodynamic ideas.
Many of these features are under development at BMW’s FIZ R&D base, and will be used on forthcoming BMW road cars, including a new range-topping sports car, the Z10 ED, which is due by around 2015.
The concept is roughly the size of a 3-series coupé, at 4600mm in length, 1900mm in width and 1240mm in height, but it demonstrates its supercar credentials with a considerably lower roofline.
At the heart of the Vision Efficient Dynamics is a diesel-electric hybrid system. The engine is a turbocharged 1.5-litre, three-cylinder powerplant that will be introduced in 2011 in the next 1-series. Other BMW models, including the next 3-series, will then adopt the motor.
With 163bhp and 214lb ft of torque, the engine is more powerful than the latest and most economical version of BMW’s existing 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel. It uses the Getrag seven-speed double-clutch gearbox that was introduced on the M3, albeit with new shift programs and unique ratios.
The diesel engine is supported by a pair of electric motors mounted at the front of the gearbox. One of them supplies drive to the rear wheels, the other powers the front wheels via a single-speed reduced-ratio transmission.
The rear motor has 34bhp and 214lb ft, although it can achieve 51bhp for short bursts. The motor acting on the front wheels delivers 80bhp and 162lb ft, but can supply up to 139bhp momentarily. Altogether, BMW’s new diesel-electric hybrid system is rated at 356bhp and 590lb ft.