BMW Vision Neue Klasse X: the future iX3 electric SUV?

May 10, 2024 by

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Eye-catching electric SUV previews a production model to be unveiled in 2025

  • BMW Neue Klasse X unveiled at preview event
  • Follows on from Vision Neue Klasse compact saloon
  • Design could preview the next iX3
  • More efficient than current BMW EVs
  • New interior concept with vegan materials
  • New iDrive software and electronics

This rather arrestingly-styled SUV is the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X. It’s the jacked-up equivalent the Vision Neue Klasse compact saloon unveiled last year, and as a concept car previews the future of BMW’s all-electric SUVs – likely the new iX3. Neue Klasse, by the way, is a homage to a line of BMWs built in the ’60s and ’70s – credited with saving the company from financial crisis and establishing it as the strong brand it is today.

Despite the wild looks and the lack of concrete information about its powertrain, BMW says it’s closer to production than you might think – promising that a model ‘close to this’ would be revealed by 2025 The Carwow team got a chance to see the Neue Klasse X up close at its reveal event, so read on for our take on this new electric SUV.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X: design and styling

There’s rather a lot to unpack when it comes to the Neue Klasse X’s exterior. Front and centre is the unmistakable shape of BMW’s ‘kidney’ grille, but it’s quite a lot smaller than it has been on the brand’s production cars of late. Designers told Carwow that for future models, BMW will have different interpretations of the grille depending on the class of car – wide and low for regular saloons and estate cars, tall and narrow for SUVs.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X – front static

It’s illuminated, and flanked by deep-set headlights that have an infinity effect to their daytime running lights.The BMW badge on the leading edge of the bonnet is etched into the aluminium, rather than being a stick-on affair.

This minimalist approach continues through the rest of the design. Styling details – like big wheelarches or side skirts – are hinted at through bulges in the bodywork rather than being added on. The Neue Klasse X doesn’t even have any cladding around the wheels, something that’s been a hallmark of SUV cars for decades now.

New BMW Neue Klasse X rear

The result is an extremely clean shape, unencumbered even by door handles – they’re replaced by small loops in the window surrounds that detect the pressure from your hand and pop the door open electrically.

This new design is likely to inspire the next BMW iX3 and, despite the fact it’s not making a debut until 2025, Carwow’s spy photographers have caught an early prototype during development testing.

New BMW iX3 front

It’s wearing a pretty heavy disguise for now, however you can just about see some of the concept’s design cues poking through. The way the snow is clinging to the front highlights the narrow kidney grilles, and the sleek LED headlights look almost identical to the concept’s.

New BMW iX3 rear

The rear of this prototype is well-covered, but it has the same smooth shape and narrow rear window as the Neue Klasse X. The taillights also appear to have a similar shape.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X: interior

In contrast to the stark, brutalist exterior, the Neue Klasse X has an interior that’s bright, cheerful, and interestingly retro-futuristic. Instead of leather, it’s trimmed in an array of plant-based materials, with weaves and patterns that make it feel more like a 1960s conversation pit than a car interior.

In a vibrant terracotta hue, it’s a real breath of fresh air – and echos the chartreuse corduroy that the Neue Klasse saloon showcased last year.

No retro conversation pit would be complete without some healing crystals, and BMW doesn’t disappoint, with crystal detailing on the very few pieces of switchgear that remain, such as the seating controls on the door.

There’s a full-width display at the base of the windscreen BMW calls ‘Panoramic Vision’. This sort of splits the difference between a driver display and a head-up display, and houses both essential information – such as speed and remaining battery – with an array of configurable widgets. The display itself is set deeply into the dash, so it feels like the digits are hovering in a dark void – quite a cool effect, and one that should limit the amount of refocusing that the driver’s eyes have to do.

There’s also the latest iteration of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, now fully touchscreen with the rotary controller totally banished. It works similarly to the current system, though it’s more graphical and based on dynamic menus rather than endless lists of discrete apps. It’s also presented on an interesting rhomboid screen, though we couldn’t quite figure out why this was important.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X: batteries and motors

BMW didn’t reveal anything as concrete as battery size or motor power at the reveal event, but did say that the Neue Klasse X’s powertrain would be significantly more efficient and sustainable than on its current cars.

A new generation of battery tech promises 20 per cent greater power density, while new motors better integrated into the chassis take up less space and contribute to an efficiency gain of 28 per cent overall.

Meanwhile, an 800V electrics architecture will enable charging speed improvement of up to 30 per cent – enabling more than 180 miles of range to be added in just a ten-minute charge.

This is helped further by a couple of what BMW call ‘super-brains’. It consolidates the work of what used to be many separate computing systems into just four for the entire car. Here, one ‘super-brain’ deals with the entire powertrain and driving dynamics, while a second enables automated driving.

When can I buy a BMW Vision Neue Klasse X?

You can’t. The Neue Klasse X – like the Neue Klasse saloon – is a concept car, previewing future BMW models and their tech.

However, BMW has said that a production vehicle ‘very close’ to the Neue Klasse X, likely to be the new iX3, will be revealed in 2025, so you won’t have to wait that long.

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