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BMW i Vision Dynamics concept could be Tesla’s worst nightmare

Five years after the Tesla Model S went on sale, German luxury automakers are finally waking up. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche are now planning long-range luxury electric cars, and one more potential Tesla killer appeared at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The BMW i Vision Dynamics concept is a vision of what a Model S fighter from the Bavarian automaker could look like. Like the Model S, the i Vision Dynamics is a four-door sedan with a low, coupe-like roofline. It also comes with some impressive performance figures: A claimed range of 373 miles and 0 to 62 mph in 4.0 seconds. BMW also noted a less-exciting top speed of “over 120 mph.”

Like many concept cars, the i Vision Dynamics previews future styling ideas and in that area, the future does not look so appealing. Some of the design elements, like the cab-rearward proportions, low roofline, and taut, muscular-looking surfacing look good. But the new spin on BMW’s signature “twin kidney” grille looks like a Hannibal Lecter mask. The overall design also is not as forward looking as two BMWs that are already in production: The i3 and i8.

Speaking of the two “i” models, the i Vision Dynamics is meant to preview a long-awaited third member of the group. Both the i3 electric car and the six-figure i8 plug-in hybrid are niche models, limiting the sales volumes of BMW’s “i” sub-brand. A sedan with plenty of range, like the i Vision Dynamics, could be just what BMW needs right now.

While the i Vision Dynamics is just a concept car, something like it will probably go into production. BMW plans to launch 25 electrified models by 2025, including 12 all-electric models. The automaker already has several plug-in hybrids, but the i3 is its only current all-electric car.

BMW will also need to sell more electric cars and hybrids just to keep up with the competition. Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover will sell only electrified vehicles beginning at the end of the decade. Mercedes-Benz will offer a hybrid or all-electric version of every model by 2022. And Audi and Porsche will be included in parent Volkswagen Group’s plan to electrify its entire lineup by 2030.

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