BMW is set to undergo a major transformation in the coming years as it gears up for the next generation of electric vehicles. The automaker recently provided a sneak peek at its Vision Neue Klasse concept, which offers a glimpse into the design and technology that will define its electric vehicles arriving from 2025. This concept will be officially unveiled at the upcoming 2023 Munich auto show.
According to BMW CEO Oliver Zipse, the first Neue Klasse vehicle will be a sedan in the 3-Series segment, followed by a sporty SUV. In an earnings call last month, Zipse hinted that the Munich concept closely represents a production Neue Klasse vehicle that will be arriving soon. It is possible that this production vehicle will be an electric version of the next 3-Series, potentially labeled the i3. BMW already sells an electric version of the current 3-Series in China, known as the i3.
The Neue Klasse platform is the backbone of BMW’s next-generation electric vehicles. It is a versatile platform that can accommodate various vehicle sizes and types and incorporates BMW’s sixth-generation electric motor and battery technology. The new batteries feature a cylindrical cell design, which is an improvement over the current prismatic cell design. Along with other enhancements, these batteries promise to deliver a 30% increase in range compared to BMW’s current batteries.
When looking at the Vision Neue Klasse concept, one of the immediate standouts is its blocky proportions, similar to what we have seen in previous BMW concepts like the i Vision Circular and i Vision Dee. BMW intends to depart from traditional proportions to enhance aerodynamics and increase interior space. However, signature BMW design elements like the kidney grille and Hofmeister kink will still be present, albeit with new forms. Moreover, BMW plans to incorporate new materials to improve the recyclability of its future vehicles.
The interior of the Vision Neue Klasse concept also offers a glimpse into the future. It features a minimalist yet high-tech cabin, reminiscent of Tesla’s interior design. Building on the i Vision Dee concept’s cabin, the Vision Neue Klasse showcases the next generation of BMW’s iDrive interface. The goal was to minimize analog controls, with most interactions being conducted through a central infotainment screen, voice assistant, gesture control, and a head-up display that spans the width of the windshield.
The head-up display in the Vision Neue Klasse, called Panoramic Vision, is capable of projecting information at the ideal height of the driver’s line of sight. It will replace the instrument cluster with a separate heads-up display capable of projecting 3D graphics. This display will present essential information such as driver-assist alerts and navigation guidance as immersive 3D animations within the driver’s field of vision. Additionally, the Panoramic Vision will work in conjunction with ambient lighting to provide a visually engaging experience, with different driving modes being associated with specific color schemes.
BMW plans to reveal more details about its upcoming Neue Klasse vehicles throughout 2023. The first vehicle will be produced at a new plant under construction in Debrecen, Hungary, starting in 2025. Following that, Neue Klasse vehicles will also be manufactured at existing BMW plants in Munich, Germany, and Shenyang, China, from 2026, and in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, from 2027.
With the Vision Neue Klasse concept, BMW is showcasing its commitment to electric mobility while highlighting the company’s future design direction and technological advancements. As the automaker ventures into the electric vehicle market, it aims to deliver innovative, sustainable, and visually stunning vehicles that redefine the driving experience.