BMW is exploring a plan to build what a senior company official calls "a breakthrough green supercar" by the end of 2012.
The new car would rival the Audi R8 and forthcoming Mercedes SLC, and has been described by company insiders as ‘a puristic two-seater that draws on all the very latest BMW technology and lightweight build processes.’
The car is also intended to showcase BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme, combining fuel-saving technology such as direct injection, brake energy regeneration and stop-start.
A source privy to early design proposals says that the new BMW supercar will be the equivalent of a modern-day M1, a car that the company recently made reference to with the retro M1 Homage concept.
The as-yet-unnamed new model will be capable of combining supercar performance and driving dynamics with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions "on a par with or better than a mid-range 5-series".
The car will be mid-engined, with power most likely to come from a retuned version of the company’s twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre straight six petrol engine.
BMW is also considering introducing it with a kinetic energy recovery system similar to the one that the company’s F1 team will be using next year.
An artist's wild rendition: