With its futuristic i8 coupe, BMW has proven that plug-in hybrids can be cool, but its latest plug-in project really drives the point home.
The normal 5 Series Gran Turismo is one of the least-cool cars on sale now, but this one has an “eDrive” plug-in hybrid powertrain, good for 670 horsepower and more than 737 pound-feet of torque.
That means this five-door hatchback has more power than its four-door cousin, the M5, not to mention the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Dodge Viper.
All of that power comes from a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission teamed with a pair of electric motors.
The motors get their electricity from a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which sits at the back of the central tunnel and underneath the rear seats and provides enough juice for 62 miles of electric-only driving.
The four-cylinder engine drives the rear wheels, but with one electric motor mounted to each axle, the eDrive Gran Turismo also has temporary all-wheel drive. The quoted 670 hp only applies when all three power sources are operating in this mode.
When the driver isn’t on maximum attack, the engine can also drive the car by itself and recharge the batteries, as in other hybrids.
However, this car is just a prototype, although BMW says it previews future plug-in hybrid production models.
That’s too bad, because not only does the eDrive powertrain (sort of) redeem the 5 Series Gran Turismo, it also make for a potential rival for the Tesla Model S.
Both are midsize five-door hatchbacks, and the BMW is just 21 hp shy of the dual-motor all-wheel drive Model S P85D’s output.
Of course, there’s no comparison when it comes to the styling. Even 1,000 hp couldn’t make up for the Gran Turismo’s ungainly silhouette.