Vision for the future
BMW gives the green light to its hybrid coupe, writes Neil Dowling
AN EXPLOSION this year of electric sports coupes has hatched another s i l e n t supercar.
Confirmed for production is BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics hybrid coupe which, when it hits the road in three years, promises to match the M3 in performance to become one of the company’s quickest cars.
Until this week, Vision was an 18-month-old concept hybrid first shown at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.
Now, despite a long-lead preproduction schedule to 2013, it’s the hottest eco-friendly project on the market and one that BMW Australia is trying to bring Down Under.
It’s early days, says BMW Australia’s Piers Scott, but the local company’s hand is up.
‘‘There is no specific word yet on production format, or market availability, but it is a car we would be excited to bring to this market.’’
The carbon-fibre Vision was shown at Frankfurt with a 1.5-litre, threecylinder diesel engine with an electric motor driving the rear wheels, aided by a second motor driving the front wheels. It can operate as a rear, front or all-wheel drive.
It is a plug-in hybrid with the engine being a range extender by charging the lithium batteries.
The result is a total power output of about 240kW and 600Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h time of less than five seconds.
BMW claims fuel economy of 3.76 litres/100km and a CO emission of 99g/km.
The two-door, four-seater Vision is intended to demonstrate BMW’s future in hybrid and electric technology, and showcase its involvement in carbon-fibre as a lightweight construction alternative to traditional metals.
It will go on sale in Europe and the US in October 2013 and rival electric and hybrid supercars such as the Audi E-tron, the Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Drive and the Porsche 918 RS Spyder.
The Vision is the third vehicle under BMW’s Project ‘‘i’’ umbrella. The others are the carbon-fibre all-electric city car, the MegaCity (expected in early 2013), and the electric ActiveE (early 2011) that is based on the 1-Series Coupe.
BMW plans to lease the MegaCity and ActiveE but may put the Vision up for sale. If so, it won’t be cheap. BMW head of research and development Klaus Draeger indicates that Vision will be the company’s most expensive car.
In Australia, that means it will exceed the 760Li’s $386,000 entry price.
‘‘Technology doesn’t come cheap, and this car is packed with everything we know about alternative drive systems,’’ Draeger says.
BMW’s Piers Scott says it’s to early to talk price or leasing options in Australia.
‘‘It will potentially involve a new retail approach with more flexible ownership arrangements to suit these next-generation vehicles,’’ he says.
The Vision will be built at BMW’s Leipzig factory with carbon-fibre body parts coming from its plant in Seattle in the US state of Washington.
Top dollar: the Vision EfficientDynamics hybrid could be BMW’s most expensive car.