Could this be the new BMW i8? Mystery coupe spotted testing

July 08, 2024 by

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A new prototype coupe has been spotted testing on an airfield in Germany, and it appears to share design cues with the BMW Neue Klasse concept. 

  • Mystery electric coupe spotted testing
  • Likely to be a test mule for BMW EV technology
  • Design cues taken from BMW Neue Klasse concept
  • Features four in-hub electric motors
  • Unlikely to go on sale in this form

Carwow’s spy photographers have spotted this zany-looking coupe undergoing testing near BMW’s headquarters in Germany, and it appears to have similar styling cues to the Neue Klasse concept.

Some detective work reveals that this could be a test mule for some radical new motor technology which may underpin future electric BMWs, including performance models.

New BMW coupe prototype: what is this thing?

It’s been a while now since the BMW Neue Klasse concept was first revealed, and it showcased technology which will feature on a lot of new electric models from the brand. There will be a saloon and an SUV, however there’s not been any mention of a coupe.

BMW Neue Klasse Coupe front

Which makes this camouflaged prototype rather baffling. It definitely shares styling details with the Neue Klasse, such as the low and wide kidney grilles at the front and the full-width tail lights, but the side looks like no BMW we’ve ever seen. It has a rakish silhouette and a very distinctive wedge shape.

BMW Neue Klasse Coupe side

The most notable detail, however, is hiding behind the wheels. You’ll notice a distinct lack of brake callipers, and that’s because this car has four hub-mounted electric motors. This wouldn’t be the first time BMW has experimented with a quad-motor car – it has a concept based on the i4 which uses such technology, but that prototype doesn’t use in-hub motors.

BMW Neue Klasse Coupe rear

But what exactly is an in-hub motor? Well it basically means the electric motor is mounted to the wheels rather than driving them from the middle of the car. BMW invested a lot of money in a company developing these motors called DeepDrive, and they’re said to be more efficient and powerful than standard motors thanks to a dual-rotor design.

BMW Neue Klasse Coupe rear charging

Having a motor on each corner would allow for some mad torque vectoring, allowing the wheels on each corner to essentially turn in opposite directions to slingshot you through corners. It would also make for a lot of power, with over 1,000hp easily achievable.

So will I be able to buy this car?

It’s hard to say at this point. Our money would be on this being a test mule for new EV technology which will make its way into future BMW electric performance cars, maybe even a new version of the i8, but don’t get your hopes up that it’ll go on sale in this form.

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