The BMW i Vision Dee concept provided an early glimpse at the future of BMW electric vehicle design, radical as it was. Now a "Neue" interpretation of that same concept is debuting at the IAA Mobility 2023 show in Munich with more cues and features that will actually make it to production.
The BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept bears the same basic shape as the former i Vision Dee, but there's more substance than before. A slanted "shark nose" bonnet highlights the front of this vehicle, with two illuminated horizontal kidney grilles extending all the way out to the end of the bumper, housing slanted LED running lights at each corner. BMW says it uses 3D printing for a number of the lighting elements introduced here.
An upturned black diffuser at the base of the bumper gives the Neue Klasse concept a sportier aesthetic compared to the i Vision Dee, and new 21-inch wheels replace the neon green dinner plates while also paying tribute to the classic cross-spoke design found in BMW racing cars. The elongated taillights mimic the kidney-grille-and-headlight combo on the front end, while BMW's new minimalist logo is printed onto the front fenders and rear quarter panels; there's not a single metal badge to be found.
BMW describes the design as "almost monolithic," and that sleekness yields a 30 percent increase in range and 25 percent more efficiency than any of the automaker's current EVs. Pair that with BMW's sixth-generation eDrive technology underneath, and the Neue Klasse concept promises 20 percent higher density, 25 percent more efficiency, and 30 percent faster charging.
Range figures aren't provided, but BMW has previously stated that 621 miles (1,000 kilometres) of range aren't out of the question. The new eDrive system will be manufactured at BMW's plant in Debrecen, Hungary, which is currently under construction and promises to be free of fossil fuels.
Inside the Neue Klasse is BMW's latest iDrive infotainment interface projected onto a funky parallelogram-like touchscreen. Current features like the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and multifunction steering wheel buttons are still present, but BMW is also introducing what it calls "Panoramic Vision."
Panoramic Vision will debut on the production Neue Klasse and it acts as an accent to the traditional head-up display. Graphics will be projected directly in the driver's line of sight and across the entire width of the windscreen, with the traditional head-up display still available and offering basic readouts. Both the driver and front passenger will be able to interact with the Panoramic Vision function using gesture controls.
The Neue Klasse's cabin, as a whole, opts for a minimalist retro aesthetic. Lovely corduroy seats in mustard yellow match yellow accents on the dash and door panels. The squircular steering wheel and screen are the only two elements atop the dash continuing the minimalistic theme; designers wanted the cabin to be free of fluff, which means no decorative chrome or leather. That keeps the design simple and improves the carbon footprint during production. Even the front seats are fixed to the floor by a single bracket, which frees up legroom in the rear for passengers in the two lounge-like seats.
The BMW Neue Klasse will go into production in 2025 at BMW's Debrecen, Hungary, facility with the EV expected to be on the road by 2026. Details like pricing, range, and charging will be made public once the production version debuts in full.