For BMW, the IAA in Münich is some home match and now is the time to show the world a glimpse of its (electric) future, with a wink to its heritage: the BMW Vision Neue Klasse. It shows how the successor of BMW’s most successful model, the 3-Series, might look when it arrives in 2025.
Despite the optimistic, futuristic prospects, CEO Oliver Zipse warns at the same time in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt that Europe is walking on thin ice by phasing out the combustion engine by 2035,
He says it is a misconception that you only have to ban the combustion engine, and the rest will take care of itself. He warns Europe could become the victim of blackmail in the future, being too dependent on raw materials for its EV production today.
Major technological leap
Nevertheless, “the Neue Klasse is already bringing the mobility of the next decade to the roads in 2025 – and leading BMW into a new era,” BMW says with confidence. It promises a major technological leap with “30 percent more range, 30 percent faster charging, 25 percent more efficiency”.
It will include an all-new BMW Drive, a new display, and an operating system showing the next technological leap that enables a modern, characteristically BMW interior design focusing on touch and advanced voice interaction.
The most striking feature will be the BMW Panoramic Vision, based on a new head-up display technology. It projects information at a height perfectly matched to the driver across the entire width of the windscreen. It is complemented by the new 3D head-up display for active driving situations, which displays the required information, like traffic guidance, as 3D animations. All can be controlled with a few buttons from the new multifunction steering wheel.
Looking at the exterior, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse will introduce a new design language to mark future models. But some might consider this a new future tech in a retro-modern wrapper.
The original ‘Neue Klasse’ was a line of models produced by BMW between 1962 and 1972. They ensured BMW’s solvency after the company’s financial crisis of the 1950s and established its identity as a sports sedan. Especially the 2000-series with the 2000 C and 2000 CS from 1965, the later six-cylinder 2800 CS from 1969, or the iconic 02-series that later became the 3-Series.
In the design of the Vision Neue Klasse, some elements are recognizable as a homage to the famous 2002 model. Still, with the extra-large kidney-shaped ‘faux grill’ and lights that pulse suggesting the car is breathing, it’s no remake of the sixties style.
BMW calls it “a fresh interpretation of the brand’s signature design elements, like the BMW kidney grille and double headlights, transform the vehicle’s front-end into a single interaction area.”
Individual back seats
The design of the interior, which is completely free of decorative chrome or leather, helps optimize the carbon footprint of the production process, the brand claims. A striking feature here is the central display in the outline of a parallelogram.
Another newly designed feature is the front seat attached to the floor by a single bracket, freeing up additional legroom in the rear compartment so passengers can enjoy the spaciousness of two individual seats.