Update: Speaking with Roadshow, a BMW engineer clarified the torque number. Actual powertrain torque is "1,150 Newton-meters," which equates to 848 pound-feet. The original number, 7,357-pound-feet, is technically correct, but 848 lb-ft is more accurate.
There’s a perfectly logical explanation why this BMW 5 Series doesn’t have the angry-looking exhaust tips at the back. It’s because what started out in life as an M550i xDrive is now a pure electric sedan with more power and way more torque than the mighty M5 Competition. In a bid to demonstrate EVs are indeed the future and there’s no going back, BMW has fitted this 5 Series with the company’s fifth-generation electric drive unit.
While the upcoming iX3 electric crossover will be the first BMW production model to feature the fifth-gen setup, it will only have a single electric motor. This experimental EV? Three of them. It enables the zero-emissions sedan baptized “Lucy” to offer a massive combined output of more than 720 horsepower. CNET’s Roadshow had a chat with the vehicle’s project manager, Matthias Stangl, to learn about the mountain-moving torque it delivers: “around 10,000 Newton-meters on the axles,” which works out to about 7,375 pound-feet. For the sake of comparison, that’s an extra 103 hp and a mind-boggling 6,822 lb-ft (9,250 Nm) over the M5 Competition.
Gallery: BMW 5 Series Experimental Electric Vehicle
BMW also told former Motor1.com colleague Steven Ewing one of the electric motors is mounted at the front axle while the other two sit at the back. Speaking of axles, the front one was actually sourced from the recently facelifted 7 Series, while the back also borrows some bits and pieces from the fullsize luxury sedan. The rest of the car is basically the standard 5 Series, including the interior cabin essentially carried over from the M550i xDrive.
Even though the car weighs a hefty 5,300 pounds (2,404 kilograms), it’ll do the 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) run in “comfortably under three seconds” thanks to its ludicrous amounts of instant torque. Those three electric motors feed on a 45-kWh battery pack, which isn’t particularly large, but Stangl mentions they wanted to go with a compact setup.
While this pure electric 5 Series won’t be going into production, it does prove BMW has what it takes to make an EV exciting for performance car enthusiasts rather than catering only to the green car crowd.
BMW Group trial vehicle “Power BEV”: #NEXTGen19.
The BMW Group trial vehicle “Power BEV” presented during #NEXTGen explores what is technically possible. The vehicle is fitted with three fifth-generation electric drive units and has a maximum system output in excess of 530 kW/720 hp. This enables it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in comfortably under three seconds.
Munich. The BMW Group trial vehicle “Power BEV” presented during #NEXTGen explores what is technically possible. The vehicle is fitted with three fifth-generation electric drive units and has a maximum system output in excess of 530 kW/720 hp. This enables it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in comfortably under three seconds.
The development team’s aim here was to build an experimental vehicle which impresses not only with its longitudinal dynamics but also in terms of lateral dynamics. Indeed, as drivers would expect from a BMW, it has been designed not only to be fast in a straight line but also to put a smile on the driver’s face thorough keenly taken corners.
To this end, the chassis and powertrain engineers worked together particularly closely to maximise the car’s performance. Key to its dynamic attributes is that the two electric motors at the rear axle are controlled separately. This brings e-torque vectoring into play, which enables maximum drive power to be translated into forward propulsion even in extremely dynamic driving manoeuvres.
The result is more effective and precise than with a limited slip differential, because actively targeted inputs are possible in any driving situation. By contrast, a limited slip differential always reacts to a difference in rotation speed between the driven wheels.
The drive system comprises three fifth-generation drive units, each of which brings together an electric motor and the associated power electronics and power take-off within a single housing. One is mounted at the front axle and two (a double drive unit) at the rear axle. Another notable aspect of this generation alongside its eye-catching power is that it is entirely free of rare earths. An electric motor of this type will make its series production debut in the BMW iX3. The iX3 will only have one motor, though, rather than three.
A current BMW 5 Series production model serves as the donor car for the Power BEV. Integrating a drive system of this type into a production car represents a serious technical undertaking, but it has been achieved here with absolutely no restriction in passenger compartment space. This makes it far easier to assess this drive concept alongside alternatives.
It has also allowed the engineers to look even more effectively into the possibilities opened up by two separately controllable electric motors at the rear axle with e-torque vectoring.
And that means, in future series-production vehicle projects, the right technology can be selected for the model at hand. Customers will therefore be provided with the most appropriate technology for their choice of vehicle concept.