The BMW Vision Neue Klasse has been revealed just days ahead of the IAA Mobility show in Munich and is a further step towards the company’s EV goals. Rather than a big SUV, this is a svelt and somewhat retro-looking car that uses its technology carefully to produce an extremely clever vehicle.
The Vision Neue Klasse is the third major Vision model BMW has produced in recent years and this one shares a great deal with the Vision Dee model shown at CES in Las Vegas earlier in 2023. The car looks every bit a BMW, with shark-nose styling that reminds me of the original 3-series. While it doesn’t have the colour-changing paintwork of the Dee, it still employs the most advanced EV technology available to offer what BMW calls a human-centric experience.
The Vision Neue Klasse employs a new interactive head-up display called Panoramic Vision that uses the full width of the windscreen and can be seen by all passengers – not just the driver. This uses the next generation of iDrive to allow all passengers to interact with the system and move content easily between the head-up display and the central screen.
Aside from the one central screen, the head-up display and a couple of controls on the steering wheel, the rest of the interior has been kept extremely minimal. The front seats are shaped bucket seats with a mustard yellow corduroy material that contrasts with the otherwise white interior.
On the exterior, the Vision Neue Klasse uses light in place of chrome, with even the statement BMW kidney grill being created by LEDs resulting in a three-dimensional effect. Many fans will be pleased to see that this is also a much narrower grill than recent incarnations too. The main headlights are built into the grill too, and the pattern repeats on the rear, with the lights forming a large band across the width of the car, only broken up by the BMW badge. The badges on both front and back are actually embossed in the metal, rather than fixed on.
Small stalks replace the standard wing mirrors on the Neue Klasse too, projecting the images presumably onto either the Panoramic Vision or some other yet-to-be-defined side screens. There are no door handles here. Instead, e-ink is used on the windows to inform passengers as to an area to press to automatically open the doors from the outside. This is a much more practical use of e-ink – one that works to provide vehicle information – and while not as fun as the full colour-changing effect, it’s certainly effective.
Efficiency is also a key part of the Vision Neue Klasse. Though exact numbers haven’t been given for this model, BMW expect the forthcoming Neue Klasse models, with sixth-generation eDrive technology to have up to 30% faster charging speeds than current models and upto 30% great range. That would suggest range of over 500 miles and charging speeds upwards of 300kWh.
In many ways, the Vision Neue Klasse looks like a much more achievable concept for the future of BMW cars, but one that’s no less impressive. Here technology is used subtly but effectively to create a better driving experience. It feels like a car that is looking as much to the past as it is to the future and that’s a huge positive for BMW enthusiasts and those that love driving. If this is the future of electric BMWs, I can’t wait to see it.