There's an arms race afoot among the major luxury automakers, and it's all about power--electric power. Audi is prepping the e-tron, Mercedes-Benz is working on an all-electric version of the SLS AMG and BMW has today announced plans to put a car based on its 2009 Vision EfficientDynamics concept into production. The announcement was made at the Leipzig trade fair center in Germany where BMW also showed off a working prototype of the upcoming green sports car.  

What BMW hasn’t revealed is what powertrain/chassis combo will actually make it to production. For now, all we can go on is what was previewed last year with the original Vision EfficientDynamics concept car.

Just over 4.0 feet high, the 2+2-seater takes up the characteristic BMW shaping style but comes with vertically lifting wing doors, a drag coefficient of just 0.22 and futuristic LED accents for the head and tail lamps.

The combination of a three-cylinder turbodiesel with a hybrid synchronous motor at the front axle and a full-hybrid engine at the rear axle enables an overall system output of 328 horsepower. The end result is a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds with an average fuel economy of 62.5 mpg. 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.

What is more, the Vision EfficientDynamics concept is also conceived as a plug-in hybrid. The lithium-polymer rechargeable battery housed centrally in a longitudinal chassis element and designed specially for this hybrid sports car can be fully charged at a conventional power socket within just two and half hours. The use of electrical energy alone permits zero-emissions motoring with a range of more than 30 miles, while a 24 liter diesel tank extends the total action radius of the vehicle to up to 434 miles.

The new production version of the Vision EfficientDynamics concept will go on sale in October of 2013. According to previous report BMW has been looking at target volumes of about 5,000 to 10,000 units per year, meaning the car could at least be 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.

On a side note, at least we now know what the mysterious prototype was in BMW’s viral Don’t Blog About This series of videos.