BMW Unveils Its Newest All-Electric SUV Concept

More so than most concepts, BMW’s new Vision Neue Klasse X is a glimpse into the future.

The German luxury marque shared a sneak peek of its next generation of electric SUVs on Thursday. The automaker has not explicitly said the Vision Neue Klasse X is destined for production, but there’s strong belief that it will serve as the basis for the battery-powered X3 that’s expected to launch next year.

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The concept, like last year’s Vision Neue Klasse sedan, shares a name with BMW’s legendary sedan and coupé line from the 1960s. This “New Class” of vehicle, which included the iconic 2002, changed that brand’s fortunes and helped turn it into the global force today. With BMW in the process of reinventing itself as an all-electric brand, it makes sense that it would want to channel this same energy.

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse (left) and Vision Neue Klasse X (right) concepts
The BMW Vision Neue Klasse and Vision Neue Klasse X concepts

While both Vision Neue Klasse concepts share a very clear design language, the SUV is higher-riding and has a much more commanding and sculpted look. As with the sedan, the highlight is a radically redesigned front fascia. The two prototypes share the same headlights, but the Vision Neue Klasse X has a set of illuminated kidney grilles that extend down to its front splitter. The SUV shares a general size and shape with the current X3, but it features sharper, better-defined lines that give it more character and reduce drag by 20 percent, according to Car and Driver. Rounding out the exterior details, is a set of 22-inch wheels with the same geometric pattern similar to that found on the sedan concept.

The interior is spacious and airy. Up front, you’ll find a streamlined dashboard setup equipped with LED accent lighting, a full-width display showing vehicle info at the base of the windshield, and a titled touchscreen display at its center. Everything is controlled via the touchscreen, which, one has to assume, won’t go over well with the European New Car Assessment Program. The seats in the front and back are covered in a corduroy-like, plant- and mineral-based textile called Verdana. There’s also a panoramic roof that contributes to the space’s wide-open feel.

Inside the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X
Inside the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

Some of the concepts new technology include a more advanced voice assistant, as well as four “super-brains” in place of a conventional engine control unit system. The super-brains are high-performance computers with significantly more processing power than those used by current BMWs. The automaker said that one super-brain will control the powertrain and driving dynamics, while another will handle all automated driving tasks. It’s unclear what the other two will oversee. The Neue Klasse X also utilizes and 800-volt architecture that will allow for rapid charging. The brand says you’ll be able to add 186 miles of range with a ten-minute charge. No specs or performance numbers were provided, but they’ll likely be made available closer to the launch of the electric X3, which will likely be called the iX3.

BMW hasn’t said when we’ll see the production version of the Neue Klasse X, or iX3, but it did say it plans to start building its next-generation electric SUV sometime next year. We’ll have to wait until closer to then to find out how much it will cost, but it seems likely that it will be well north of the SUV’s current $46,000 starting price.

Click here for more photos of the Vision Neue Klasse X.

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X in Photos
The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X in Photos

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