BMW are pulling out all the stops to beat Ken Livingston’s increase in the London Congestion charge. Porsche are heading to the courts while BMW are spending money on innovation.

To be revealed at the Geneva show, BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics Concept is jam packed with innovative new state-of-the-art technology aimed at reducing emissions and improving efficiency. Based on the bulky X5, the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept is one of the first Diesel Hybrid applications in a passenger car. Only a few other manufacturers like Mercedes, PSA and Ford have shown Diesel Hybrid systems in the past. The vehicle employs a highly developed 2.0L turbo diesel four cylinder engine that uses variable twin turbo system and 3rd generation common rail technology to produce an impressive 204hp and 400Nm of torque. This powerplant is assisted by a mild Hybrid concept that uses a compact generator to provide up to 20hp more power and a whopping 210Nm of torque. All the torque is fed through a new 8 speed automatic transmission developed in conjunction with ZF. The greater spread of gear ratios should allow the engine to run at its more optimal speed/load point for a given road speed. BMW quote 43.5mpg or 172g/km CO2 of on the combined cycle, which is hugely impressive for a vehicle the size of the X5. The car is also equipped with BMW’s regenerative braking system and photovoltaic solar panels mounted to the roof.

It makes perfect sense to couple a hybrid system to a diesel engine. Diesel engines are significantly more efficient than a gasoline engines but generally cost substantially more as a unit. This is a result of their complex fuel injection systems and the obligatory turbocharger, in this case two. Modern diesels emit fewer CO2 emissions too as a result of using less fuel. The cost of the diesel engine has to be added to the hybrid generator and the batteries and all of a sudden you are looking at a very expensive vehicle. Nevertheless, directionally it is a great step forward and perhaps those central London dwellers can still have their SUV fix after all. Read on for more details.

[UPDATE]  02.22.2008 - 5 photos added to photo album

BMW X5 Twin Turbo Hybrid Concept Revealed