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BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept hints at next-gen iX3 EV

BMW has given the first glimpse of its next-generation electric SUVs with the reveal of the Vision Neue Klasse X.

BMW’s chairman Oliver Zipse said the new concept wasn’t just a car or concept but was redefining the BMW brand.

The five-door, five-seat concept brings a radical new look that shares design cues with last year’s Vision Neue Klasse saloon and gives an early indication of what we can expect from the replacement for the current iX3.

Like the Vision Neue Klasse, which hinted at the future of the 3 Series saloon, the X features a large glasshouse with a panoramic roof and low belt line allowing large flush-fitting glazed areas. It also puts an emphasis on a few sharp but simple design lines to give it a boxy but bold look.

Among the biggest (or smallest) talking points is the new-look kidney grille. The Vision Neue Klasse X has ditched the massive gawping grille of the iX and other recent BMWs in favour of a more subtle approach. Clearly inspired by the original ‘Neue Klasse’ cars of the 1960s, the new concept features a slimmer vertical 3D design at the centre of a broader panel that incorporates the multi-section vertical lights. To stop it being too subtle it is, of course, illuminated.

BMW’s design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said: “The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X provides a look ahead to the X models of the Neue Klasse. The X models will always remain strong in character: monolithic, clean and with a very distinctive vertical interpretation of the BMW light signature.”

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X interior

Inside, the X has a similarly airy and pared-back approach as the saloon concept. There are very few physical controls. Instead drivers are expected to use the steering wheel controls, voice commands and the massive parallelogram-shaped central touchscreen. The cabin also features Panoramic Vision – a digital display that runs the full width of the dashboard just beneath the windscreen. Ambient lighting extends to backlit woven panels in the dashboard and owners will be able to personalise the car’s soundscape with their own favourite sound through something called the Hypersonx Wheel.

The Vision Neue Klasse X makes wide use of recycled and sustainable materials inside and out. A new plant and mineral-based surface material that’s entirely petroleum-free has been developed for lower trim sections of the doors and centre console and recycled marine plastics have been used for injection-moulded elements. On the car’s exterior, lower trim parts are also made from recycled and recyclable plastics.

The SUV will be based on the same all-new EV platform as the next-gen saloon. There’s no word yet on what powertrains will be offered but the platform allows for rear- and all-wheel-drive applications and there are rumours of a 600bhp ‘M’ version.

BMW says that new drive and chassis controls using four “super-brains” will deliver a more precise and dynamic drive while also improving efficiency of Neue Klasse models.

What we do know is that the platform uses 800V architecture which should support up to 350kW charging, and features the sixth generation of BMWs’ lithium-ion battery. These have 20% better energy density than existing units and BMW says they will offer up to 30% more range and 30% faster charging. A 186-mile charge should take just 10 minutes. Overall, thanks to the new drivetrain, braking system and tyre designs, Neue Klasse cars are set to be up to 25% more efficient than the existing EV range.

It’s not clear if the new model will retain the iX3 name but production of the Audi Q6 e-tron rival is due to begin in 2025 at BMW’s Debrecen factory in Hungary – the firm’s site to run entirely on fossil-free energy.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X.

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of inews.co.uk, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.