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BMW tests potent 530kW electric 5 Series

Trio of new-gen electric motors give BMW 5 Series mule supercar performance

26 Jun 2019

AN INNOCENT-LOOKING BMW 5 Series sedan has become the rolling test-bed for the German company’s 21st century muscle-car technology.


Shown at BMW’s #NextGen event in Munich, the engineering mule dubbed Power BEV (battery electric vehicle) packs a reputed 530kW of power from three fifth-generation electric motors – one on the front axle and two at the rear.


That power theoretically puts the family luxury sedan in the same performance league as the Ferrari 488 Pista and Lamborghini Aventador S, laying down a 0-100km/h time of “comfortably less than three seconds” – at least half a second faster than the 441kW 4.4-litre V8 M5.


It also puts the Tesla Model S with its Ludicrous mode in the crosshairs, although BMW is not saying when such a sedan might go into production.


Interestingly, BMW said it did not have to intrude on cabin space to fit the batteries, motors and allied technology in the current-model car, although it admitted the challenge was “a serious technical undertaking”.


It said it worked as hard on the vehicle’s dynamics as it did on the power and acceleration, with chassis engineers involved in the development alongside electric powertrain experts.


BMW said the rear electric motors operate independently and can be controlled separately by software for a form of e-torque vectoring to “enable maximum drive power to be translated into forward propulsion, even in extremely dynamic driving manoeuvres”.


“The result is more effective and precise than with a limited-slip differential because actively targeted inputs are possible in any driving situation,” it said.


“By contrast, a limited-slip differential always reacts to a difference in rotation speed between the driven wheels.”


BMW also revealed that the newly designed electric motor with its controlling electronics and power takeoff all in a single modular unit will first appear in the upcoming iX3 that will be built in China from next year.


However, the iX3 will get only one of the motors which – BMW also revealed – does not require rare-earth metals in its construction, presumably making it cheaper to manufacture.


The company has suggested that these electric motors can be used in various combinations to suit different vehicles and driving needs.


BMW’s current power champion is the M5 Competition that packs 460kW from its petrol 4.4-litre V8 – 70kW short of the claimed output of the electric combo of the Power BEV mule.

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