Dramatic, dynamic and devastatingly quick. This is BMW’s new supercar, which promises M3-rivalling pace and CO2 emissions of only 50g/km. Incredible… but true!
Called the Vision EfficientDynamics, it will make its world debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and uses a plug-in hybrid powertrain to blend supreme speed with supermini-bettering emissions.
Its sculptural body makes use of the most advanced and lightweight materials available, and takes inspiration from last year’s M1 Hommage concept.
However, the neck-swivelling styling will take a back seat to the hybrid technology that lies under the skin.
Powered by an all-new three-cylinder turbodiesel, mated to a pair of electric motors – one on the front axle and the other at the rear – maximum output for the system is a staggering 262kW (351bhp) and 800Nm of torque.
With huge amounts of power available from extremely low in the rev range, acceleration promises to be awesome. BMW anticipates a 0-60mph sprint in 4.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph, while returning the equivalent of 75.1mpg, when you consider the source of the electricity used to charge the batteries.
The compact 1.5-litre diesel engine punches well above its weight, producing 161bhp and 290Nm of torque, and works in tandem with the rear electric motor to drive the back wheels.
Meanwhile, the second electric motor delivers a constant 220Nm to the front axle.
In overrun, and when the brakes are applied, both motors act as electric generators, feeding energy back into the lithium-polymer battery stack – although a two and a half hour charge from a standard socket will top them up, too.
Through a clever on-board management system, the BMW can be driven by the diesel engine alone, electric power only for 31 miles, or, for overtaking and sudden bursts of speed, all three power sources can join forces.
But who’s ever seen a hybrid that looks like this? BMW designers were insistent that it should feature a 2+2 layout, so four passengers can enjoy the driving experience.
A mid-engined set-up, with the powerplant behind the back row of seats, means that a classic supercar stance with short front overhangs and muscular rear haunches can be adopted.
Eye-catching touches include the ‘floating’ rear LED lights, and the transparent roof and doors, made from a special polycarbonate glass that darkens the brighter it gets outside.
But the real show-stoppers are the enormous gullwing doors. Hinged at the apex of the roofline, and consisting of the entire side glass panel, they reveal an opening big enough to access the rear seats, as well as the front.
Design details have also been borrowed from BMW’s F1 team. For example, the A-pillars not only support the roof, but channel the air flow cleanly along the side of the car.A flat undertray also helps high-speed stability and lowers aerodynamic drag.And with a lightweight construction, that includes an all-aluminium chassis and suspension system, it’s easy to see how focused on efficiency this car is.
There’s even 150 litres of storage space, and the rear seats can be tilted forward for additional loading space – the kind of practicality that may hint that a production version is closer than we think.
And with Audi stealing all the headlines with its talented R8, this could be the halo car that keeps BMW ahead of the game.