BMW Vision Neue Klasse shows the future

BMW reserves the term, “Neue Klasse” or New Class for its line of vehicles it considers as revolutionary; one that brings the carmaker to new direction or heights. The original Neue Klasse from the 1960s and 70s did just that and helped save BMW from obscurity and financial loss.

The new one—revealed as the Vision Neue Klasse—or New Class Concept showcases how BMWs will look like in the era of electrification, digitalization, and circularity.

Confirmed for production in 2025 when it will spawn a new vehicle family, the Neue Klasse’s design embodies a paired back design language. It reduces the character lines to a minimum, relying instead on expansive surfaces to communicate its presence. Of course, key BMW design features like the kidney grille, 2.5 body shape, and the Hofmeister kink remain.

The concept has powerful arches, retracted glass areas, and a steeply-forward slanting “shark nose” design. The grille itself is sealed off and grows to accommodate the headlights as well. The lights themselves have an animated pattern to initiate a stronger interaction between car and driver. The same goes for the Vision Neue Klasse’s use of E Ink elements on the lower portion of the side glass. Behind, the same 3D lighting offers an impression of depth.

Sustainability plays a key role in the Vision Neue Klasse’s design. It uses recycled plastics on its exterior and uses no chrome. Even the BMW roundel logo has been etched, reducing the number of materials and componentry used.

The author beside the BMW Vision Neue Klasse

Inside, the Vision Neue Klasse debuts the next-generation BMW iDrive system. BMW has decided to reduce traditional buttons and switches to a minimum, relying instead on the large central display and a heads-up display that spans the lower portion of the windshield called BMW Panoramic Vision. The combination of the large screens allows driver and front passenger to display different information simultaneously. Of course, the use of large screens necessitated a redesign of the fundamentals such as the steering wheel which now has its spokes in the 12 and 6 position, while buttons take over the traditional 3 and 6 position.

The homey, sort-of retro look of the Vision Neue Klasse makes way for BMW’s sixth-generation BMW eDrive technology.

Powering the brand’s upcoming EV models (and to be sold alongside the current fifth-generation BMW eDrive), the newly developed electric motors have more powerful and efficient motors. This is side by side with its new, round battery cells. All in all, BMW says charge times will be improved by 30 percent, while range goes up a similar amount. Overall efficiency, thanks to more advanced aerodynamics and thermal management, is up 25 percent.

The automobile, in its basic form, hasn’t changed in more than a hundred years. However, with society putting emphasis on environmental and social impact, carmakers are finding a way to heed to call. Innovation, more than anything, will play a central role in keeping brands like BMW at the forefront of the premium segment in a future that’s digital, electric, and circular.

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