Merging the performance personality of an M car with eco-consciousness befitting the best of its ActiveHybrid technology, BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics Concept offers a look at where the German automaker plans to venture in the years ahead in its quest to meet tomorrow's requirements for sustained mobility. Due for public display in Frankfurt, this dramatically styled 2+2 all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid matches a three-cylinder clean turbodiesel engine with a pair of electric motors fed by a lithium-ion polymer battery pack to create a system that can call on up to 356 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft of peak torque for short periods, sufficient to propel the 3,076-pound Vision from 0-60 mph in less than 4.8 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

VIDEO: BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics

Power from the diesel/electric combo is transmitted to the rear wheels via a six-speed version of BMW's double-clutch transmission (DCT) while a two-stage, single-speed reduction gearbox is used in concert with the electric motor that powers the front wheels. Despite its enthusiast-grade performance, BMW says the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept is capable of averaging nearly 63 mpg and traveling 431 miles in combined mode on one 6.6-gallon tank of diesel and running 31 of those miles on electric power alone. Range-extending tricks include conventional regenerative braking as well as BMW Thermo-Electric Generator package that converts normally wasted exhaust heat into electrical energy.

In addition to showcasing the potential of the high-efficiency two-mode technology that it also will introduce in Frankfurt on its new ActiveHybrid 7 Series and ActiveHybrid X6 production models, BMW added a host of other innovative design flourishes to the Vision Concept, starting with its lightweight carbon-fiber body that has an ultra-low 0.22 coefficient of drag, a sweeping greenhouse, front-pivot/swing-up door structure and numerous aero tuning tricks developed by BMW Motorsport that optimize airflow over and around the package. Inside, lightweight, torso-hugging seats fill their Kevlar shells with "personalized" padding while an array of high-tech readouts highlighted by an "active" 3-D heads-up display allows the driver to select and assign visual prominence to the most relevant information under any given condition.

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