The German car maker isn’t pretending the complex arrangement is going to replace the potent 552bhp twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 direct injection petrol engine in the BMW M5 any time soon.
However, it does concede electrification is set to play an important role, both in achieving the sort of performance and range customers have come to expect from traditional combustion engines and at the same time fulfilling ever-stricter fuel consumption and emission regulations.
Right now, it says the Power eDrive system can be adapted to generate anything from 250bhp all the way up to 650bhp, as sampled here.
As an indication of where the efforts of BMW’s concept driveline engineers are focused with Power eDrive, the otherwise innocuous-looking 5-series GT xDrive in which the initial prototype system is installed is described to us as “the Tesla-killer”. We take a passenger seat and ready ourselves to ride shotgun around the German company’s vast Miramas test track in southern France.
From rest in the pit lane, the BMW test driver pushes the throttle against its backstop and we’re thrust onto the circuit with truly astonishing force. With the two electric motors channelling their reserves to all four wheels, acceleration is brutal.
The delivery of torque is instant, and it is sufficient to induce momentary wheelspin from all four wheels as we’re furiously propelled up the straight. The only sensation of noise comes from a distant high-pitched whine from the electric motors, the buffeting of wind around the exterior mirror housings and the roar of tyres across the Tarmac. That is until until the four-cylinder petrol engine fires to further boost the remarkable performance and also act as a generator to produce electricity, which is stored on board.