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BMW Neue Klasse Concept Gives Glimpse of Next-Gen 3 Series EV

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BMW made a significant splash at the IAA Mobility auto show in Munich, Germany, by unveiling its Vision Neue Klasse concept car. This retro-future concept car offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future of electric sports sedans, with expectations that it will eventually evolve into the next-gen 3-Series, potentially debuting as early as the 2026 model year. The Neue Klasse concept pays homage to the iconic BMW Neue Klasse, which played a pivotal role in the company’s history when it was introduced in 1962. This revival of the Neue Klasse name signals another transformative era for BMW, much like the original did back in the 1960s.

The concept car, which could humorously be dubbed the “Neue Neue Klasse,” is an all-electric vehicle showcasing cutting-edge technology within a retro-modern exterior. The front end boasts a forward-slanted nose and kidney-shaped faux grilles reminiscent of the beloved 2002. However, it’s far from a simple rehashing; the concept incorporates a digital grille with pulsating lights, giving it an almost lifelike breathing quality. The design also features narrow roof pillars and expansive windows, creating an illusion of spaciousness and a clean profile with minimal character lines.

A striking feature of the Neue Klasse concept is the e-Ink display strip along the side windows, serving as a touch-sensitive door handle. The taillamps, adorned with 3-D-printed elements, create a sense of depth and are brilliantly illuminated by bright red LEDs. Aerodynamic 21-inch wheels and rear-facing cameras in place of traditional mirrors enhance the car’s modernity.

Entering the Neue Klasse concept’s cabin reveals a futuristic, digitally-driven design. A wide black panel running the width of the dashboard functions as a projection screen for BMW’s next-generation iDrive interface, known as Panoramic Vision. This trapezoidal center display can be augmented with crucial information for easier viewing on the go. The vehicle also offers a head-up display, a feature slated for the production version.

The interior exudes a vintage vibe with midcentury-modern bucket seats, highlighted by yellow corduroy upholstery. A floating center console divides the cabin, while the multi-function steering wheel’s unique design, with a flat bottom, top, and sides, imparts a distinct square appearance.

Underpinning the Neue Klasse is BMW’s next-gen EV platform, boasting an 800-volt system and a new battery design with 20 percent higher energy density. Coupled with enhanced aerodynamics, more efficient electric motors, and improved thermal management, this platform promises a 30 percent increase in range compared to the company’s current EV drivetrain. Production will mainly occur in Hungary, with possible expansion into the United States, leveraging federal EV incentives. Additionally, a new battery factory is planned in South Carolina, furthering BMW’s commitment to sustainability.

BMW’s Vision Neue Klasse concept represents a bold step into the electric future, paying homage to the company’s rich heritage while showcasing advanced technology and design. With its sleek aesthetics, innovative interior, and promising EV platform, this concept car sets the stage for a transformative period in BMW’s history, echoing the impact of the original Neue Klasse. The automotive world eagerly awaits to witness whether the Neue Klasse will redefine the modern way to “get somewhere sitting down.”


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