BMW is working on its next-generation electric vehicle platform—code-named Neue Klasse, German for “New Class”—and the first model spawned from the platform will arrive in 2025.
It will be a sedan in the same segment as the 3-Series. BMW CEO Oliver Zipse described the Vision Neue Klasse concept unveiled during last week’s 2023 Munich auto show as a close representation of it.
The sedan will be followed by five more Neue Klasse EVs in quick succession. They will arrive over the space of just 24 months and at least one of them will be an SUV in the same segment as the X3, Zipse has previously confirmed. It’s possible some of the other EVs will be different versions of the initial sedan and SUV, such as a wagon or coupe-like SUV.
In an interview with Autocar published on Tuesday, BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said the quick pace of the model introductions means there will be more design overlap compared to existing models in BMW’s lineup.
Adrian van Hooydonk
“Since they will come in such short succession, you will see a strong overlap, perhaps stronger than when you do a whole model generation in 10 years, which is what we used to do,” he said. “Two years isn’t a long period of time, so it will appear as if they have grown together a little more—but you will still recognize individual characters.”
The Neue Klasse platform is being developed from the onset for electric powertrains, and to be flexible enough for engineers to vary the wheelbase length to fit a variety of body styles. Vehicles based on the platform will also take on a more aerodynamic design to help maximize range. As a result, proportions will differ from the past, not only for aerodynamics but also to boost interior space, something we’ve already seen with the Vision Neue Klasse concept.
The platform will also use BMW’s sixth-generation electric motor and battery technology, which promises improved power and efficiency. The battery will feature a new cylindrical cell design (instead of the current prismatic cell design), and together with other improvements should result in a range improvement of 30% over BMW’s current batteries.
BMW i Vision Circular and i Vision Dee concepts
The first Neue Klasse vehicle will be built at a plant under construction in Debrecen, Hungary, starting in 2025. Neue Klasse vehicles will also be built at existing BMW plants in Munich, Germany, and Shenyang, China, starting in 2026, and in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, starting in 2027.
Earlier concepts, such as 2021’s i Vision Circular and this year’s i Vision Dee, previewed some of the sustainability measures and technology destined for the Neue Klasse vehicles but aren’t thought to directly preview any specific model. The measures will include increased use of recycled parts, head-up displays spanning the windshield, and automated driver-assist features ranging up to Level 3 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability. Level 3 means a vehicle that enables hands-off, eyes-off operation in specific conditions, but requires the driver to be ready to take back control at a moment’s notice.
The Neue Klasse designation was first used by BMW for a series of coupes and sedans introduced in the 1960s, which helped the automaker rise from the depths of massive financial challenges and establish the reputation for sporty and stylish executive cars that BMW still relies on today. The new Neue Klasse generation is expected to mark a similar significant shift for the company.