Hmm. It seems that in the last 70 years, the Dutch have reneged on their once noble proclamation of neutrality. For where they would previously stand by and let the Germans march through their territory towards France and Britain, now, they’ve sent their own citizen soldiers East to conquer Germany. Not militaristically, of course, that just wouldn’t do, but with designers.
Exhibit A: Adrian von Hooydonk, Dutch designer for BMW. Exhibit B: The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept designed by Exhibit A.
Now that we’ve placed everything in the perspective of history, I’d like to ask you to please put in your earplugs. You’ll need them for what’s below. Earplugs aren’t usually needed for reading, but just have them ready in case the VED sputters into life. Yes, be very scared of the aggressive and sporting BMW coupe. Usually, sports cars with the performance of credentials such as 4.8 seconds 0-100 kph and a limited top speed to 250 kph (BMW M3-matching), should be nothing to fear, quite the opposite in fact. Not so here. Why?? Because the VED is powered not by a V8, V10, or V12, but a three-banger. A diesel three-banger. And a couple of electric motors powered by lithium ion batteries that can be plugged into a 220V outlet and charged in 2.5 hours. This makes for a turbodiesel plug-in hybrid 2+2 sports coupe- quite a mouthful.
So, to summarize and elaborate, the 1.5L turbodiesel engine is mid-mounted and powers the rear wheels via a 6-speed DCT. One electric motor helps out at the rear wheels and one at the front, thereby creating an mid-engined all-wheel-drive sports car. *Cough*Audi R8*Cough*. You said it, not me. It’s interesting to think of a greener and roundel-badged R8 competitor, though.
Total power output for the VED is 356 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, but since it has a drag coefficient of only 0.22 (compared to 0.25 for the Prius), fuel consumption is a miserly 3.76L/100km, or 62.6mpg. For a sports car? Really? That’s about a third of what cars in this performance bracket usually pull off. The problem with that much torque, and 195 mm width tires at all four corners, is the lack of contact patch making it tough to put the power down, and the sound.
While sports cars usually sound like everything the small kid inside of us could want, the VED will most likely sound like a combination of electric toothbrush and a tin can with a stone rattling around in it. Now imagine that at full throttle. Not going to win any admirers, clearly. Thus, the earplugs I recommended earlier.
As for the looks, I’ll let you be the judge. Suffice to say that it’s different, and in a world where a Camry looks like a 3-series, a little Dutch is a good thing.
That was a brief summary of the 4,500 word press release as best as I can muster. I tried to make my way through it but passed out trying, my oxygen supply suffocated by BMW’s brilliant mastery of marketing-speak. Feel free to peruse the gallery below, the images are of high enough quality for wallpapers even.
[BMW via Autoblog]