BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept previews all-electric four-door sedan

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If concept cars are meant to grab attention, then the BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept—an all-electric sedan that debuted Tuesday at the Frankfurt motor show—may have fulfilled its mission.

With the huge, vertical twin-kidney BMW grille also seen on the BMW X7 SUV concept, the smaller four-door sedan concept grabbed viewers' attention from the very first glance.

But a few things have become clear now that the concept is out in the open.

CHECK OUT: Electric BMW X3e to come in 2020, but BMW i5 defunct: what happened, and why?

First, the BMW i sub-brand will continue to live on, and as one executive noted earlier, the luxury brand's future all-electric cars will continue to be called BMW i models.

That means, apparently, that the rumored all-electric version of the next-generation BMW 3-Series—the company's core vehicle for 40 years—either doesn't exist or will be sold under the i sub-brand. That was the car previously rumored to be revealed at the show.

Second, BMW sees longer battery range as a strong selling point: the BMW i electric sedan concept is said to have 373 miles of range.

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Enlarge Photo

As always, that's likely on the gentle NEDC test cycle, and a U.S. EPA rating would be closer to 300 miles—still a higher range than all but two Tesla models now on sale.

The low-slung sedan, closest in shape to the BMW' "4-door coupe" sedans known as Gran Coupes, the i Vision Dynamics concept is expected to preview a production car that will launch around 2020.

That timing seems to be a theme at this year's Frankfurt show, with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen all showing concepts that are thinly disguised production cars to hit the market in two to three years.

READ THIS: Electric Mini officially confirmed by BMW CEO, also electric BMW X3

Sizewise, the BMW electric concept isn't much larger than a 3-Series. Like all modern electric cars, it has a thin battery pack located under the cabin floor.

The cells in that battery are described by BMW as "fifth-generation," and are likely high-energy Samsung cells expected to come on the market a year or two from now.

Consonant with the brand's performance image, the company says the concept will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.0 seconds, with a top speed rated at 120 mph.

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Enlarge Photo

Much of the concept's reason for existence, however, is to pioneer a new image of "electric mobility of the near future" and the design language into which it translates.

The company emphasizes that the car is intended to be emotionally engaging—the suggestion being that the unusual shapes and design features of the i3 are no longer helpful in selling electric cars.

The new car, BMW says, has an "exterior appearing as if cut from a single mold," clearly a sleeker and more minimalist look than the square, blocky, upright i3.

DON'T MISS: BMW iNext concept previews electric sedan flagship to come in 2021 (May 2016)

The production version of the BMW i Vision Dynamics concept would sit below another electric vehicle in the i sub-brand, the BMW iNext, which the company showed last year as its vision of a truly top-of-the-line luxurious all-electric prestige vehicle.

That car will not only have a similarly long-range electric powertrain but also pioneer a highly advanced self-driving system BMW is developing with partners Continental, Intel and Mobileye.

The Bavarian company intends to lead German makers and the luxury segment in electric vehicles, with a goal of 12 separate electric cars on the market by 2025 among its BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce brands.

Among those already confirmed for the future are an all-electric Mini Cooper hardtop and a battery-electric version of the next BMW X3 compact crossover utility vehicle.

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