Green BMW sports car based on Vision EfficientDynamics Concept rendering
There's an arms race afoot among the major luxury carmakers, and it's all about power--electric power. Audi is prepping the e-tron, Mercedes-Benz has OK'd the SLS AMG Electric, and BMW is again reported to be working on a production version of the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept, dubbed the M8 and intended as a green supercar to rival upcoming offerings from Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
The project has been brewing ever since the M1 Homage concept was unveiled in 2008. We even previewed what the car might look like last December. But the latest report indicates the car is developing into a 600-horsepower hybrid-drive monster that could be shown as early as October with a production version on the street by 2013--if it gets the final greenlight from the board later this summer.
We brought you the first official details on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept straight from last year's Frankfurt Auto Show, but here's a quick refresher: it's a three-cylinder diesel, four-door, plug-in hybrid that promises M Division performance from its combined 356-horsepower, 590-pound-foot output. The arrangement of the hybrid powertrain allows the diesel engine to drive the rear wheels directly or with assistance from a rear-axle electric motor through a six-speed gearbox, while the electric motor up front drives the front wheels on pure electricity, and all three systems can work in tandem for maximum performance. This delivers a range of possibilities for in-town and performance driving.
According to previous reports on the Vision's production path, BMW has been looking at turning the highly conceptual design into a production-ready car for 2013--confirming the dates in the latest report. Target volumes are about 5,000 to 10,000, meaning BMW is planning to make the car at least reasonably affordable. Despite the relatively high volume targets, the report indicates BMW is envisioning this car as a successor to the M1, a legend in its own right, and progenitor of the M Division.
We may be able to look forward to a preview of the new plug-in hybrid in a nearer-to-production concept form as early as Paris, though as these things tend to go, it may be delayed until early next year. One thing that's for sure, according to previous reports, is that the long and clumsy Vision EfficientDynamics name will be making a quiet exit. And 2013 will be one interesting year for performance electrics.