BMW Vision Neue Klasse is a future electric 3 Series
The BMW Vision Neue Klasse has been revealed at the Munich Motor Show, as a preview of the maker’s next-generation design and technology. Given its size and shape, the Vision Neue Klasse is widely considered a successor to the existing 3 Series, which is due to be replaced in 2025.
Building on the i Vision Dee show car unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, the Vision Neue Klasse “combines [BMW’s] ability to innovate in the core areas of electrification, digitalisation and circularity,” according to Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
On the first of those points, the Neue Klasse is said to feature BMW’s sixth-generation eDrive technology, which development boss Frank Weber says offers “30% more range, 30% faster charging, and 25% more efficiency” than the existing setup. Using current models such as the BMW i4 for reference, that could mean the forthcoming electric 3 Series will be capable of more than 450 miles on a charge, as well as Tesla Model 3-beating charging speeds of up to 270kW.
As mentioned by Zipse, ‘digitalisation’ is a big point of note with the Neue Klasse. Again previewing next-generation technology, BMW’s iDrive system takes a step forward; the so-called ‘Panoramic Vision’ setup can project key information onto the base of the windscreen and works in conjunction with a 3D head-up display. As in the maker’s current lineup, there’s also a central touchscreen allowing access to all the car’s main functions. BMW says the setup is relatively close to production ready, and could be scaled for different models.
The final area of consideration is that of circularity – or a car’s ability to be recycled at the end of its life. The Neue Klasse has a “higher percentage” of secondary raw materials, as well as “reduced material variety”, which is said to make the car easier to dispose of.
While recognisably BMW – the synonymous kidney grilles, shark nose, and double headlights see to that – head of design Adrian van Hooydonk says the Neue Klasse is “so progressive it looks like [BMW] skipped a model generation”. The size of the car and its saloon shape draws it close to the existing 3 Series, though the 21-inch aero-optimised wheels are the largest ever fitted to a BMW in this segment.
Inside, there are four individual seats (the production version will get a conventional five-seat layout) with the front two attached to the flat floor by a single bracket and freeing up space for those in the back. and a completely flat floor. The cabin is covered in bright cord fabric, devoid of contrasting leather or chrome – again aiding recycling at the end of the car’s useful life. There’s ambient lighting and graphics influenced by MINI’s ‘My Mode’ settings, while the gearlever and wireless smartphone charging sit upon the tall open centre console.
With the production version of this Neue Klasse model still a couple of years away, no official specifications have been revealed. However, you can be sure BMW will be keeping a close eye on the likes of Tesla, Polestar and Mercedes, all of which have bold plans to revamp their respective model ranges ahead of the UK’s 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars.