It’s called “The Thing” by BMW’s engineers; it has all-wheel-drive, 700 horsepower, and is a plug-in hybrid with 470 horsepower of that total coming from the electric motors powering the front and rear.
It’ll spin all four wheels at will with instant torque and Car and Driver calls it a “Tesla P85D killer” but: 1) that remains to be proven, 2) this thing needs a 230-horsepower turbocharged gas engine for max go-power, and 3) it’s not a real car.
OK, it’s a real car. You can see the pictures. But it’s not in production, is described as a skunk works project by a secretive team of developers, but boy it sounds fast.
A seat-of-the-pants estimate by C&D put the 0-60 time at low 4s, maybe. That does not mean that’s the quickest it could ever go – the all-electric P85D is rated 3.2 seconds – but a feeling of a low 4-second range sprint is what they managed, apparently.
Officially, the marketers at the Bavarian Motor Works call it the 5-series GT Power eDrive. It’s a crossover making it an odd matchup to turn a mish-mash style of family sedan/hatch into a car that broaches supercar performance.
The idea behind it is just as flexible – notice we avoided the use of the word “practical.”
No one needs 700 horsepower, but for those who have the need for speed, this can dial the power from a low of 250 horsepower to 650 – but the total of the motors and engine is 700, thus the discrepancy.
Power from the rear motor is 270 horsepower, up front is 200 horsepower, and the 230-horsepower gas engine adds thrust and recharges a battery twice the capacity of present BMW plug-in hybrids but occupying the same size.
The idea is to deliver range-extended all-electric driving – with 470 e-horses – and with range up to 373 miles thanks to the gas backup, and it could run as a pure EV for at least two-thirds of the time.
The notion that BMW could produce this very vehicle, or install the powertrain into another body type is on the table. Unknown is when or if it will happen. But it could.