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BMW's New 5-Series Electric Test Bed Has More Power Than an M5

Brian Silvestro
Photo credit: BMW

From Road & Track

BMW knows the future of driving is electric, so it's been preparing. Its latest prototype is this unassuming 5-Series sedan dubbed the "Power BEV," with three electric motors, capable of 720 horsepower and a 0-60 time under three seconds. Wow.

According to BMW, this 5-Series, which started out as an M550i xDrive, packs one electric motor at the front axle, and two in the rear. The two in the rear control each wheel independently, allowing for computer-controlled torque vectoring. BMW claims this setup is more precise than a traditional limited-slip differential because it can react to several different inputs, not just wheel speed. Despite weighing 5300 pounds, it can get from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds. That's on par with the new M5.

The electric motors are a variation of the one found in BMW's newest electric car, the iX3 crossover. The difference is, this 5-Series has three motors, while the iX3 only has one.

Roadshow spoke to Matthias Tangl, the car's project manager, who told them torque was "around 10,000 Newton-meters on the axles," which translates to 7375 lb-ft. As impressive as that sounds, wheel-torque numbers aren't exactly representative of the car's true torque figure. It's calculated by engine torque multiplied by the car's first gear ratio. As R&T contributor Bozi Tatarevic explains on Twitter, if you were to apply this calculation to a normal M550i xDrive, you'd get a figure of 6744 lb-ft of torque—a lot more than the car's actual 480 lb-ft output. BMW didn't list the car's true torque figure in its press release, and couldn't provide it to Roadshow upon request.

BMW hasn't said whether a version of this car will go into production any time soon. More than likely, this car will serve as a test bed for its next-gen vehicles. If this is the future of BMW's lineup, we're totally cool with it.

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