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The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X - the X3 of the future?

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

We're not normally given to covering SUVs at RUSH - let alone electric ones. However, the Vision Neue Klasse X has us intrigued with its sharp styling and a promise to return to traditional BMW dynamic values.

BMW's Vision Neue Klasse is gaining momentum today with the reveal of a new addition - and perhaps the most important one so far in this day and age - an SUV. Or, as BMW has classified it, an SAV, for sports activity vehicle. However you choose to define it, a production version of the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X is scheduled to roll down the line at Debrecen, Hungary, in 2025.

First hinted at by the BMW i Vision Circular hatchback in 2021, the design language of the Vision Neue Klasse has since expanded to include two saloon car concepts - with the i Vision Dee debuting in January 2023 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, followed by the Vision Neue Klasse Sedan that was shown to the world at the IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich. Many people believe the Sedan to be the next generation three-series, and given BMWs form for producing accurate concept cars, don’t bet against it.

First impressions of the Neue Klasse X indicate a return to classic BMW proportions - a long wheelbase, short overhangs, the Hofmeister kink and a new (thankfully smaller) interpretation of the iconic kidney grill. Even the BMW press release talks of a pared down design language. Dare we say it looks good - although we’d prefer a less fussy alloy wheel design and a kidney grill that wasn’t illuminated.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

The sixth generation of BMW eDrive equips the Neue Klasse with up to 30% more range and faster charging speeds. The technology features improved e-drive units and new round lithium-ion battery cells with 20% greater energy density than the prismatic cells used previously. Aerodynamic drag is reduced by 20% compared to a current model like the iX3, while new tyres and a special brake system contribute to an increase in overall efficiency by up to 25 percent.

According to BMW the changes amount to “unparalleled efficiency” and a “seamless electric driving experience”, with the Vision X capable of adding 186 miles of range in under ten minutes. The car is said to have a 30% faster charging speed so assuming that this is compared to the current iX3 electric SUV, we could expect peak DC charging inputs of 200 kW.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

BMW is also making similarly bold claims about the dynamics of the car - a trait that certain BMWs seem to have lost in the company’s desire to reposition itself as a technology leader.

One of the most notable features of the Vision Neue Klasse X is its drive and chassis control system, designed to deliver personalised driving experiences. This is powered by a new software stack developed in-house by BMW, which “promises to elevate driving pleasure and powertrain smoothness to new heights.”

Head of Development at BMW Frank Weber explained the new drive and chassis control system by saying “The BMW of the future will have four totally new super-brains: high-performance computers working smartly together on what, up until now, was processed separately.

“We developed the first super-brain completely in-house. It integrates the entire powertrain and driving dynamics with up to ten times more computing power. The second super-brain will enable the next quantum leap in automated driving. Going forward, we will combine four key control units in a single high-performance computer. The result will be more dynamic performance, more precision, more efficiency and even more fun to drive.”

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

Moving inside, the interior of the concept is light and airy, with a full panoramic roof and a single digital interface. Most of the traditional dials and car information have been transferred to a band across the bottom of the windscreen, with a heads up display projecting the key information to the driver. BMW states the car will have a new advanced user interface, with personal sound experiences, intelligent voice control and ambient lighting.

Even if you may not be a BMW fan, the Bavarian firm's commitment to sustainability is admirable. A completely plant and mineral-based, petroleum-free surface material called Verdana was developed for the interior and is used in the lower portion of the door panelling and in the centre console. Maritime plastics like discarded fishing nets are also being used for the first time in injection-moulded parts, accounting for over 30% of the finished pieces.

On the exterior of the car, the side skirts and front and rear aprons are also produced from recycled mono-materials. The choice of recycled materials and the new construction methods will make for easier disassembly and recycling when the car reaches the end of its useful life.

We’ll have to wait until 2025 to see if the production Neue Klasse X sets the standards in the driving dynamics department, but on this evidence, the outlook is encouraging. Oliver Zipse, the Chairman of BMW, is certainly bullish. “We are underlining that the Neue Klasse is much more than just a car or a specific concept; it is redefining the BMW brand – and, at the same time, will be more BMW than ever.” Let’s hope he’s right.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X


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