BMW reveals its Vision for the future

Now, the BMW Vision concept car clearly demonstrates that the EfficientDynamics objectives are fully compatible when applied to a sports car.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
3 min read

The very bug-like BMW Vision concept.

The Frankfurt auto show rapidly approaches, which means that it's time for yet another dull BMW EfficientDynamics concept to mildly pique our interest with...wait, whoa! WHAT IS THAT?

The recently unveiled BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept maintains the hallmarks of what makes a BMW a BMW (the kidney grills, the Hofmeister kink, and hopefully, the high level of performance), but tosses everything else out of the window to create a bizarre amalgamation of M car performance, fuel efficiency, and insectoid aesthetics.

Let's start with the power train.

The Vision concept is powered by a 1.5-liter, turbodiesel three-cylinder mounted amidships and two electric motors--one at each axle. Direct injection and a variable intake geometry turbocharger help the diesel engine to output 163 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of peak torque to the rear wheels through BMW's six-speed DCT transmission.

The rear electric motor outputs a consistent 33 horsepower and is able to reach a peak of up to 51 horsepower. Maximum torque for the rear electric motor is 214 pound-feet. Meanwhile, a second electric motor at the front axle offers continuous output of 80 horsepower and peak torque of 162 pound-feet. An extra 112 horsepower are available for a period of up to 30 seconds, and, for a 10-second "burst" the electric motor is able to develop 139 horsepower.

IMHO, this is one of the best-looking BMW concepts in a long time.

Overall system output is 356 horsepower, and peak torque is 590 pound-feet during that 30 second burst (for passing maneuvers, etc). Acceleration from 0-to-62 mph is achieved in 4.8 seconds, and top speed is an electronically limited 155 mph.

The system can run under diesel power, electric power, or a combination of the two. The engine configuration affords the Vision all-wheel drive when operating in all-electric mode. The electric engines are powered by a total of 98 lithium polymer cells developing continuous output of 600 amps with a maximum 30-second burst output of 1,200 amps. The batteries are recharged through a combination of diesel generation, regenerative braking, or plug-in charging. As a result, the Vision has two refilling flaps, one for diesel fuel and one for electricity. Average fuel consumption is 62.6 mpg on the EU test cycle.

The BMW Vision concept's ubersleek looks are the result of efficient aerodynamics and lightweight construction.

With the mid-mounted diesel engine, the Vision can have a low nose. Active louvers in front of the radiator close completely when there is little need for cooling, such as when running in all electric mode. The vehicle's low, sleek design results in an overall vehicle drag coefficient of just 0.22. The concept rolls on oddly huge (21 inch), low-rolling resistance tires. The big wheel and 195 millimeter profile supposedly provides a big enough contact patch to keep the Vision agile, as well as efficient, while wheel covers reduce turbulence caused by the spinning wheels.

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept revealed (photos)

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Most of the body is made of transparent composites (which darken when exposed to UV light) and the chassis and suspension are made completely of aluminum, resulting in a curb weight of 3,076 pounds.

The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept will be unveiled, along with the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and BMW ActiveHybrid 7 production models, at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show, so stay tuned for more coverage. In the meantime, make the jump to see the BMW Vision concept in motion.