Sunday, 30 August 2009


It was inevitable that a future BMW M supercar would be produced. After all, the very heritage of the company was built on flying and around some of the most famous race tracks around the world. Lately Munich seems to have lost the urge to compete on tracks (pulled out of South African touring car championship in 2007 and more recently out of Formula One).

The 2+2-seat Vision EfficientDynamics Concept which is on its way to the Frankfurt Motor Show could signal a whole new future for the BMW brand. Mind you other possibilities exists, especially in the fuel source sphere.

Powered by a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo diesel with lithium-ion battery-based ActiveHybrid technology, the concept defies physics in a range of ways. For one the whole power system produces 262kW (356hp) and a whopping 800Nm of torque. The diesel engine is assisted by two electric motors on either axle, effectively making the car an AWD. This is quite an interesting development if you consider that Audi has been making AWD cars that put most of their power at the rear wheels.

Performance is mind blowing. The 0 – 100km/h time is 4.8 seconds and top speed is a limited 250km/h. You’d expect these kinds of figures to be escorted by the fuel consumption figures of an Airbus A380. Not so. BMW claims the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept averages 3.76 litres per 100km and leaves C02 emissions of 99 g/km! You don’t even get these types of figures from small diesel cars, let alone a sub 5-second sports car.

Driving the wheels is the 7-speed DCT (double clutch) gearbox with quick changes.

Being a plug-in hybrid means the car can run for about 50km in electric mode alone. That says a driver travelling from Jozi to Pretoria or vice versa would make it without having to use the diesel component of the powertrain, which means no fuel at all would be used.

Recharging can take about 2.5 hours on a normal 220V home socket while that time is cut to just 44 minutes on a higher-volt station.

BMW has followed the form-over-function philosophy in designing the exterior. Every bit is meant to maximise performance in fuel consumption as well as in handling and other dynamics.

Nothing has been said about putting the car into production but I reckon there is a very strong case for that, or at least one exists for adapting some of its technologies to other upcoming mass-production BMWs.