First ride in the new Power eDrive plug-in hybrid

Engines | November 30th, 2014 by 6
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Autocar UK calls the new BMW Power eDrive tech the “Tesla Killer.” Last week, BMW offered media previews of the new plug-in hybrid technology aboard a 5 Series GT xDrive equipped with the new Power eDrive.

The ongoing development and refinement of hybrid drive systems under the Efficient Dynamics program is geared in particular to maximizing the amount of time the vehicle spends in electric mode. Therefore, BMW is developing a new generation of “highly electrified” hybrid concept models.

First one made its this week, the 3 Series eDrive Concept which will go on sale in 2016. Next year, the BMW X5 eDrive will preview the same tech.

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So how does the new plug-in hybrid feels on the road from the passenger seat?

From rest in the pit lane, the BMW test driver pushes the throttle against its backstop and we’re thrust onto the circuit with truly astonishing force. With the two electric motors channeling their reserves to all four wheels, acceleration is brutal.

The delivery of torque is instant, and it is sufficient to induce momentary wheelspin from all four wheels as we’re furiously propelled up the straight. The only sensation of noise comes from a distant high-pitched whine from the electric motors, the buffeting of wind around the exterior mirror housings and the roar of tyres across the Tarmac. That is until until the four-cylinder petrol engine fires to further boost the remarkable performance and also act as a generator to produce electricity, which is stored on board.

BMW won’t say exactly how much shove is on offer, suggesting only that it is “well into four figures” on the Newton metre (Nm) scale. As a point of reference, the recently unveiled performance variant of the Tesla Model S, the so-called 85kWh, possesses a mighty 931Nm – or some 687lb ft of torque. So the BMW prototype is not exactly lacking.

Make no mistake, this is a very heavy car. It carries three powerplants and a battery roughly twice the size of that found in more conventional plug-in petrol-electric hybrids. However, its ability to gather speed in a straight line is nothing short of sensational. Subjectively it feels every bit as quick (and then some) as the 3.2sec figure Tesla quotes as the 0-62mph time of the Model S 85kWh.

Catch the full review here.