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BMW Vision Neue Klasse X sets template for brand's electric SUVs

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept front three quarter lead
BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept front three quarter lead

The new-look kidney grille takes direct inspiration from the 1960s Neue Klasse cars

The new Vision Neue Klasse X concept showcases the future design of BMW’s bespoke electric SUVs – and closely previews the next-generation successor to the iX3, due to launch next year.

It’s a companion piece to the Vision Neue Klasse saloon concept that was revealed last year and exhibits the differing design language that will be applied to BMW’s bespoke electric saloons and SUVs in the near future.

BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said that the two concepts showcase “the breadth of our future model line-up”.

Appearing broadly similar in size to the current iX3, the new concept will be readied for production next year as the first of the next-generation Neue Klasse EVs.

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Like the i3 saloon that will result from the Vision Neue Klasse, the SUV will be based on BMW’s new EV-specific architecture, featuring an advanced new software stack running on four high-performance computers.

The most notable styling feature of the Neue Klasse X is the new-look kidney grille, comprising of two tall, thin elements, taking inspiration from the original 1960s Neue Klasse saloons and coupés. The grille design is marked out by LEDs, creating a light signature and giving it a three-dimensional appearance.

A variation of the design will be used on all Neue Klasse SUVs, while Neue Klasse saloons will take their cues from the flatter, wider grille of last year’s concept.

Elsewhere, the Neue Klasse X appears to take clearer cues from BMW’s existing SUVs, particularly the flagship iX.

The exterior appears closer to production-ready than the Neue Klasse saloon. It retains a number of design trends from that concept, including the removal of all the exterior cladding elements and badges. The SUV even features the BMW roundel laser-etched into the bonnet, although that element is unlikely to be carried over to the production car.

The rear of the concept features a new interpretation of BMW’s L-shaped tail-lights, while the C-pillar retains the classic Hofmeister kink – albeit marked out by what’s called a reflective print surface.

In place of the cladding traditionally used on the side skirts and front and rear aprons, BMW has substituted parts made from recycled mono-materials, which will be more cost-effective to replace if damaged and can then be recycled for future reuse.

The interior of the Vision Neue Klasse X seems to be more conceptual, although the general dashboard and infotainment interface will be retained for production.