BMW has kept the world guessing about a concept car that would epitomize the company's corporate Efficient Dynamics philosophy and now it is here. The new car is mean-looking 2+2 sports car that uses both a turbo-diesel three-cylinder engine as well as two electric motors in a full plug-in hybrid layout. BMW says the goal of the project was to build a vehicle that has the performance of one of its M cars, while delivering fuel-economy that is superior to current small cars. This they most certainly achieved with a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds and a claimed fuel economy figure of 62.6 mpg.
The diesel engine used is essentially half of that found in the current BMW 335d, displacing 1.5-liters. On its own the diesel makes 163hp and 214 ft-lbs of torque. The car also gets BMW's impressive six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Two electric motors are paired to this engine, which is located in a mid-rear configuration. A 33hp motors sits between the engine and transmission while a second 80-hp motor delivers power to the front axle. The result it a total of 356hp and 590 ft-lbs of torque. Storing that energy is a lithium-polymer battery pack that runs down the center of the car for optimum weight distribution.
BMW says the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept can be plugging in a charged at a conventional outlet in just 2.5 hours and can travel up to 31 miles on pure electric power. A 6.6 gallon diesel tank will then allow an extended range of 400 miles.
To keep the weight of the vehicle to a minimum, BMW engineers build the chassis and suspension entirely out of aluminum, meaning the car weights just 3,076 lbs. Engineers also worked hand-in-hand with the designers to create the body of the concept, with a light weight polycarbonate body that boasts a aerodynamic drag coefficient of just 0.22 cd. BMW says part of the reason for the impressive aerodynamics is due to their ability to work on the front end of the car, made possible by moving the engine to the rear. New thermostatically controlled slats in front of the radiator can also close at speed to redirect air around the car when cooling isn't a top priority.
In addition, on of the vehicles most progressive technologies is what BMW calls "Forward looking energy management." BMW hopes that by using technology to forsee what is coming on the road ahead it can save energy by shutting down or powering up other systems. An example would be using the radar system built into the active cruise control to see when traffic is slowing down ahead, and then shut of the car's engine while activating the regenerative braking ahead of time.
There's not reason to think BMW will ever build this car, but we should expect many of the technologies shown here to make it into production cars in the not-too-distant future. The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept will officially be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 15th.
More: Report: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept is a 356hp Plug-in Hybrid Turbo-Diesel