Car Design

BMW’s Second Neue Klasse Concept Previews SUV Adaptation

by Nathan Petroelje
25 March 2024 3 min read
BMW’s Second Neue Klasse Concept Previews SUV Adaptation
Photos courtesy BMW

BMW has revealed a new SUV version of the concept family called “Neue Klasse,” which previews the automaker’s design language moving forward into the electric era. The Neue Klasse X is, according to BMW, an “SAV” or “Sports Activity Vehicle” but you can clearly see the crossover SUV shape here, so we’re going to call it what it is.

BMW Neue Klasse X exterior side profile charging at house

“Together with the BMW Vision Neue Klasse, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X showcases the breadth of our future BMW model line-up,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
In the Neue Klasse X, we can see hints at how BMW plans to stylise its X (read: SUV) models, which in the current automotive market are sales superstars. The pared-down design language of the two-box SUV features a long wheelbase, short overhangs, and plenty of glass to bathe the interior in natural light.

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BMW Neue Klasse X exterior high front three quarter at house

The signature—and somewhat divisive—BMW kidney grille stands front and centre, though it’s much smaller here than it is on current models, which is a welcome change. BMW says its designers reimagined the grille as a 3D sculpture with the help of backlighting. Like the Neue Klasse saloon, the lighting elements are vertically oriented both front and rear, though at both ends the elements reach farther into the car’s centreline than anything we’ve seen on current production Bimmers.

Strong, geometric wheel arches shroud snazzy-looking wheels that are indeed pushed out to the edges of the silhouette. The crimped spoiler off the back and the upright body lines have whiffs of the BMW XM performance SUV. The “Coral Silver” paintwork plays with the light to really accentuate the different surfacing of the exterior.

BMW Neue Klasse X exterior rear three quarter driving

BMW’s signature “Hoffmeister Kink” at the rear of the greenhouse shows up inside of the rearmost window, rather than on the bodywork itself, via a “reflective print” that, according to BMW, “forms a transparent or reflective surface, depending on the viewing angle.” Tricky.

The interior is remarkably minimalist, with a thin screen spanning between the A-pillars and a smaller, central control screen tucked below it. The former looks like something you don’t touch on the regular, only there to display multitudes of information. The latter feels like the nervous system of the cabin.

The textured seating materials pop in a coral tone that feels like it gets visibly warmer when hit by sunlight. As expected, the flat floor and elongated wheelbase make the cabin area feel remarkably spacious. Those second-row seats with throw pillows look like great places to take a load off.

The Neue Klasse family of concepts previews BMW’s sixth-generation eDrive technology. Key among the updates for the new electric platform are new electric motors, as well as a new battery cell design. Previous eDrive platforms used prismatic battery cells, but BMW says the new version will utilise round lithium-ion cells, which offer better volumetric energy density (more than 20 percent better, says BMW) than the outgoing design.

BMW Neue Klasse X and Neue Klasse saloon parked front three quarter

Paired with a new 800-volt electrical architecture, the new platform promises to improve charging speed by up to 30 percent, says BMW. Customers should be able to charge the batteries enough to cover a 300-kilometre (186 mile) trip in just ten minutes. (That’s assuming they can find a charger that can dole out that much juice, though, which isn’t a given currently.) Thanks to aerodynamic improvements, better tyre designs, and a new braking system for electric vehicles, overall vehicle efficiency should improve by 25 per cent, ultimately boosting range by up to 30 per cent, says BMW.

BMW’s Neue Klasse series of vehicles is slated to start production at the group’s Debrecen plant in Hungary as early as next year. Though it’s unclear whether the saloon or the X pictured here will start production first, the smart money would say the latter gets first dibs.

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