The latest in BMW’s series of confusingly-named concepts is here: the four-door i Vision Dynamics, unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier today. Earlier this week BMW updated its plans announcing that they will electrify 25 models and offer 12 fully-electric models by 2025. Since then, this concept is the first unveiling of what one of those all-electric models might look like.
It has long been expected that BMW will make an “i5” model, something able to round out their “i” sub-brand product offerings with a price point inbetween the i3 compact car and i8 sportscar, possibly available in 2020 as a 2021 model to compete more directly against Tesla’s offerings in the four-door sedan space. This seems to be the manifestation of that rumor, though it has not been given the expected “letter+number” moniker as of yet.
While this is only a concept so far, it comes with big specs – a 600km range (373 miles, but if these are NEDC numbers, then that’s a lot closer to ~300 miles EPA), top speed of over 124mph (200km/h) and 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in four seconds. But those are, notably, the only specifications in the press release – the rest is flowery marketing-speak about design and corporate philosophy. This is to be expected for a concept car, as of course specs will change before production (if that ever comes), but the more vague the press release is, the further it is from being driveable. And we need cars on the road, not more press releases.
BMW describes this concept as “what another electric BMW might look like,” rather than what it will look like – making no commitment yet to actually put this car into production. That said, this has happened before – when BMW first showed the “Vision EfficientDynamics” concept way back in 2009. It was a shocking design concept, a departure from anything BMW has made before, and while many were impressed by the concept, I’d venture to say that nobody expected it to get made without major changes to the design. And them BMW went and made it as the i8, looking almost exactly like the original concept.
Will this happen again with the similarly-named i Vision Dynamics concept? One can hope. It’s certainly an ambitious design, but it’s not so wild that hitting production is out of the realm of possibility. And the specs BMW has suggested the car will have certainly offer nothing to complain about.
But it took BMW 5 years to go from concept to production with the i8, and only in low numbers – the i Vision Dynamics concept will have to hit market more quickly than that and in much larger numbers in order to make any sort of dent in Tesla’s relentless growth – and their dominant performance in the luxury sedan market. BMW’s possible 2020 release target would put them much quicker-to-market than they did with the i8, and yet it still allows Tesla 3 years of growth from now with the Model 3 and even possibly the Model Y by then. For their part, at least one BMW executive has expressed doubt about Tesla’s ability to deliver on their promises – but Tesla is starting to deliver on those promises already, whereas BMW is yet to do the same.
And as for that name: in addition to the aforementioned concepts we’ve also had the “VISION NEXT 100” concept, the “NUMBER ONE > NEXT” strategy, and have heard rumors of the name “iNext.” Can someone, please, anyone, get ahold of BMW’s corpo-speak knob and turn it down from 11? If not, then can we start a pool for the next concept’s name? My money’s on “NextDynamics EfficientVision i.” I think it’s a lock.