BMW Neue Klasse X Shows the All-Electric Future of the Brand

a white car driving on a road
BMW Neue Klasse X Shows the All-Electric FutureBMW
  • The BMW Neue Klasse X Sport Activity Vehicle will join the Vision Neue Klasse Sedan as the first BMWs to ride on the all-new Neue Klasse electric drive platform.

  • Both vehicles will slot into spots held by the current 3-Series sedan and X3 sport-ute.

  • Look for them in 2025.

Will it work this time?

BMW has reinvented itself before. The company started out in 1916 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines, Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke AG, which a year later became Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH. Soon it was making motorcycle engines, then motorcycles, then some beautiful cars (the original 328), and then aircraft engines again.


After WWII it suffered the indignity of making household appliances. Then came some very cool cars—the 700 and the 507—and an ugly one, the 501. The 507 was too expensive, the 700 too much a limited-production race car, and the 501, as we said, too ugly.

Just as the company was teetering on the brink of insolvency, the Quandt brothers stepped in with some money, and shortly thereafter BMW, presented the very first Neue Klasse, the 1500 that would morph into the 2002, the latter still revered by collectors and club racers the world over.

Things got better after that. Ask anyone who has ever driven an M3.

a white car driving down a road
Note the kidneys. What do you think?BMW

Now BMW sees a new chance to reinvent itself, or it did four years ago when it discussed another Neue Klasse. This reinvention is a new generation of the electric car.

BMW and many European manufacturers were and remain, so they say, convinced that the future is going to be all-electric. And whether that conviction is correct amidst the current seeming plateau of EV sales, BMW has continued its electric transition with this Neue Klasse X.

Toward that end, in January 2023 we saw the i Vision Dee, in September the Vision Neue Klasse, and now, the Neue Klasse X, a new BMW Vision Vehicle that will, more or less as you see it here, go into production next year. It will be joined by the Vision Neue Klasse, a 3-Series-sized sedan that looks faintly like the i Vision Dee. Both the Vision Neue Klasse sedan and the Neue Klasse X will fill the market niches of the 3-Series and X3.

The Vision Neue Klasse and Neue Klasse X are all-electric, of course. Four years ago, in discussing electrification, BMW thought that by 2030, a full 50% of its global sales would be EVs. The vehicle you see here and last year’s Vision Neue Klasse sedan are the first of that new class of all-electric Bimmers.

Let’s check out the Neue Klasse X, which was just revealed in Munich.

SUVs are where the money is. BMW calls them SAVs, for Sport Activity Vehicles, but the two-box look shows just how smitten the world market is for these things.

As these shapes go it is handsome, with some clever details that make it stand out from the rest of the amorphous boxy shapes we see on every highway in every country around the globe. It has a relatively long wheelbase-to-overhang ratio, large window openings all the way around, and what has to be one of the largest glass sunroofs in the world. In its current concept state, it’s a rolling terrarium. (Bring your plants!)

There is a smaller kidney grille up front, though it may be too small, and the rest of the front end looks a little confused, like the schnozz on the M2. A light signature around the grille recognizes you and reacts when it sees you coming, like a little electric dachshund.

In the back, the tail lights almost touch across the tailgate, and the little stylish whoop-dee-doo in the rear wing is rather fetching. Taken together, the new exterior reduces drag by 20 percent compared to current Xs, while new tire designs and a special brake system for fully electric vehicles help increase overall vehicle efficiency by up to 25%, BMW says.

the inside of a car
In addition to that big central screen, info will be projected across the windshield.BMW

Inside, the most impressive thing may be the BMW Panoramic Vision. This is like the display in the i Vision Dee concept from last year. It projects key information across the full width of the windscreen, BMW says.

In production models of the Neue Klasse there will also be an “enhanced BMW 3D Head-Up Display.” You’ll be able to send information from the central screen to the Panoramic Vision Screen to create your own user interface. You can even load your own photos on the screen. Hard to imagine exactly how much of the windscreen will be taken up by this feature and whether it will block the driver’s view of the road, but surely BMW has thought that through.

“Our highest priority is that the driver is not distracted,” said project lead of the UI/UX design team Olivier Pitrat.

A knob in the steering wheel allows further control (“We will have knobs where necessary,” Pitrat said). Voice commands are likewise available. They will be met with increasingly better AI, too. For instance, instead of trying to change the HVAC controls while you drive, you can just say, “My feet are cold,” and the AI aims the heater vents there for you.

the track club
Hearst Owned

In addition to BMW Active Cruise Control with traffic light recognition, SAE Level 2 and 3 autonomy will be in Neue Klasse cars and SAVs, BMW said, along with Level 4 in some valet parking situations where conditions for that are met.

And the ECU controlling all of this is 10 times faster than before, BMW said.

Specifics on the output of the electric drivetrain were not stated, but BMW did say the Neue Klasse X is powered by the sixth generation of BMW’s eDrive technology. That means improved e-drive units (electric motors), new cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells with energy density more than 20 percent higher than the prismatic cells BMW used before, all coursing through an 800-volt power system that improves charging speed by up to 30 percent.

Altogether, the new eDrive offers as much as 30% more range than before—more drive for the Deutschmark, you could say. And it’s all on its way.

“We will go into production in 2025 with something very close to what you see here,” said BMW board of management member Jochen Galler.

Are you ready for an electric BMW? Or do you miss internal combustion and manual transmissions?