BMW has previewed an upcoming electric sedan with the Vision Neue Klasse concept, but it has also teased its SUV sibling.
As part of a keynote presentation over the weekend, BMW revealed the side profile of a camouflaged Neue Klasse SUV.
Though BMW has only released a brief teaser of the vehicle instead of previewing it in concept form, it’s set to be the first of its Neue Klasse family of electric vehicles, and is due in 2025.
BMW CEO Oliver Zipse confirmed it’ll be one of several vehicles on the Neue Klasse dedicated electric vehicle (EV) architecture.
“The Neue Klasse is not just one car, it’s a completely new generation of cars. We plan to have six models on the road in 24 months between 2025 and 2027,” he said, noting this includes sedans and SUVs.
The as-yet unnamed Neue Klasse SUV seen here is reportedly replacing the current iX3, with the next-generation X3 – riding the separate CLAR platform – expected to offer petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid power but no electric option.
The teased vehicle isn’t quite production-ready in appearance: in addition to the trippy camo, it’s also wearing prototype tail lights.
Nevertheless, we can clearly make out the new electric SUV’s lines, including a belt line that rises sharply aft of the C-pillar and what appear to be prominent haunches.
The roofline is somewhat rakish and yet clearly traditional SUV fare, while there’s the short front overhang expected of an electric car (or a BMW for that matter).
In the presentation video, BMW also showed a few rapid cuts of the SUV driving, but they’re too blurry to make out much.
There appears to be a high bonnet line and an upright front fascia, so BMW is resisting the temptation to offer overly slippery styling like rival Mercedes-Benz.
Indeed, BMW’s design boss has said he doesn’t want the brand’s designs to follow the likes of Chinese brands with fluid lines, and instead wants to offer its own distinctive look.
The Vision Neue Klasse sedan concept, which BMW says is essentially production-ready, features crisp lines, a low belt line, a forward-slanting ‘shark nose’, and fresh new detailing for the brand.
Despite this new take on BMW design, familiar elements like the double-kidney grille and Hofmeister kink remain.
Inside, there’s not only a head-up display and a central touchscreen, but also a pillar-to-pillar BMW Panoramic Vision display.
This new screen array can be controlled by both the driver and front passenger, and drivers can use a simple gesture to move content from the touchscreen to the Panoramic Vision display.
The minimalist centre console includes a smartphone charger and a glassy selector lever, while the steering wheel is squared off like an old Austin Allegro.
The company promises its sixth-generation eDrive technology will offer 30 per cent more range, 30 per cent faster charging and 25 per cent greater efficiency than its current electric tech.
Neue Klasse vehicles will be fitted with new cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells.
Compared to its current battery technology, this cylinder cell technology is claimed to improve energy density by more than 20 per cent, charging speed by up to 30 per cent, and range by 30 per cent.
The company is also developing solid-state batteries and aims to have high-voltage batteries of this type ready for series introduction by the end of the decade.
BMW has previously said it plans to reveal a vehicle fitted with this battery technology before 2025, however.
Neue Klasse vehicles will be produced at a new plant in Debrecen, Hungary from 2025, followed by production in Munich, Germany and Shenyang, China in 2026 and San Luis Potosí, Mexico in 2027.