This is BMW's vision of the sports car of the future; a lightweight 2+2 coupe with plug-in hybrid drive technology that promises to offer 'M' car-level performance and driving dynamics with Toyota Prius-like fuel economy and emissions figures. Set to take center stage at the Bavarian automaker's stand at the 2009 Frankfurt Show in September, the Vision EfficientDynamcis showcases an array of technologies many of which are said to be planned for use on upcoming BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce models.
At the heart of the concept is a high-performance diesel-electric hybrid system that combines a small diesel engine with two electric motors and a newly-developed version of BMW's double-clutch transmission (DCT) with six speeds.
Mounted in front of the rear axle (behind the back seats), the 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo diesel engine that drives the rear wheels delivers an output of 163HP and 214 lb-ft of torque. The compact-sized electric motor that is positioned between the diesel engine and the DCT produces 33HP and 214 lb-ft but can supply momentarily up to 51HP.
The second electric motor is situated on the front axle offering continuous output of 80HP and peak torque of 162 lb-ft but it can produce 112HP for a period of up to 30 seconds, and, for a 10-second "burst," 139HP.
The overall system output is 356 horsepower and 800Nm or 590 lb-ft of peak torque. The arrangement of the two motors and diesel engine allows all-wheel drive when driving in all-electric mode.
BMW says that the Vision EfficientDynamics concept can accelerate to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.8 seconds and has an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h or 155mph. The Bavarian automaker claims that average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is a mere 3.76 lt/100 km which is equal to 62.6 mpg US, and the CO2 emission rating are just 99 grams per kilometer - however, let's not forget that we're talking about a concept car...
The electric motors are powered by a lithium-polymer battery pack that collects energy either from regenerative braking or by plugging the car into the mains. When connected to a standard EU power outlet (220 V, 16 Amps), the system requires a maximum of 2 and-a-half hours to fully charge and 44 minutes if there's a source with higher voltage and amperage (380 V, 32 Amps).
The concept can run completely under electric power, with the turbodiesel engine alone, or a combination of both power sources. The diesel engine offers a range of around 650 km or 430 miles while in all-electric mode, the range is 50 km or 31 miles. The overall range is close to 700 km or 431 miles.
As a technological showcase, the Vision EfficientDynamics concept car features an array of innovations including a thermo-electric generator in the exhaust system that converts thermal energy contained in the exhaust emissions into electrical energy which is then used to power features such as the steering and air conditioning.
The chassis and suspension of the 2+2 coupe are made out of aluminum while the roof and the outer skin on the Gullwing-style doors are made almost completely of a special polycarbonate glass that automatically darkens as a function of the light shining on the car.
The overall weight of the coupe that measures 4.60m (181.1-in.) in length, 1.90m (74.8-in.) in width and 1.24m (48.8-in.) in height, is 1,395kg or 3,076 pounds. BMW says that the car can carry a maximum load of 445kg or 981 pounds and has a luggage capacity of 150 liters or 5.3 cu ft.
Created under BMW Group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk, the concept's shape was largely dictated by aerodynamics with the company claiming a drag coefficient of just 0.22. As for the interior, BMW says that the focus was likewise on both the "fascinating driving experience" and, in particular, "on transparent, hands-on technology and maximum reduction of weight."
Understandably, the Vision EfficentDynamics overly futuristic styling does not point to a specific model, but expect to see some ideas such as the design of the front end which is reminiscent of the M1 Hommage to influence BMW's future cars.