BMW Neue Klasse X previews the next-generation iX3

21st March 2024
Ethan Jupp

BMW has revealed the next preview of its upcoming Neue Klasse range of cars, which are set to be a revolution both in terms of style and technology. This is the Vision Neue Klasse X, BMW’s take on its next-generation retro-futuristic styling language in the form of an SUV.

The car is essentially a preview of what the next-generation iX3 will look like, though to dismiss it as a simple sequel would be unfair given its significance technologically and as a design U-turn. In the words of BMW Chairman Oliver Zipse, “The Neue Klasse is much more than just a car or a specific concept; it is redefining the BMW brand – and, at the same time, will be more BMW than ever”. Let’s start with the design.


BMW Vision Neue Klasse X design

With this being only the second body style that we’ve seen to wear the ‘Neue Klasse’ styling language, we can definitely tell there’s a visual identity forming here. The lights and ‘grilles’ beside are almost a straight lift from the saloon concept we saw last year.

New at the front is the chunkier lower area and those vertical kidneys – which have been vastly reduced in size – take influence from the original Neue Klasse line of cars from the 1960s and will be an exclusive feature of SAV and crossover models. We’d probably leave the lighting in the kidneys for the production car, mind.

Being an SUV that’s closer to production in appearance than the Vision Neue Klasse saloon last year, there’s more detail, though subtle, in the surfacing and a chunkier stance in terms of the arches. There’s a definite lowered glasshouse – also seen on the Neue Klasse saloon – and something resembling a Hoffmeister kink. 

At the back, again, it’s Vision Neue Klasse saloon lighting and surface treatments grafted onto an iX3’s rump, with positive results. Certainly compared to the decidedly challenging iX and XM, this Vision Neue Klasse X is a significant improvement. As quite an important aside, the Vision Neue Klasse X is also claimed to be 20 per cent slipperier through the air than the current iX3.


All around, like the saloon, this speaks of a much more palatable future in BMW design, that calls confidently on heritage without risking antiquity. It’s definitely BMW but definitely modern. The “Coral Silver’ paint is certainly thoroughly modern and contemporary.

“The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X provides a look ahead to the X models of the Neue Klasse,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design.

“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

On the inside, there’s the same sense of family connection with the saloon concept, with the large rhomboidal hexagon screen augmented by BMW’s Panoramic Vision system, which is set to make production. 

The steering wheel is a further development of the more concept car-like item seen on the prototype from last year, with north/south spokes, haptic controls and a larger airbag section. The new operating system, which links the panoramic head-up display and screen, has been carefully designed to simplify and streamline use of the car’s functions and controls.

The colour scheme of white and rich tan is loud, but strangely homely and traditional. Material wise there’s a diversion away from traditional plastics and a move towards sustainable plant-based and recycled components. Recycled material is also used on the outside, wherever you see black cladding.

Overall the cabin looks like an entirely pleasant place to be and, if the production car is appointed and assembled with the high quality of the iX and other recent BMWs, it’ll surely be a strong contender in its class.


BMW Vision Neue Klasse X powertrain and technology

Both the iX3 and i3 that are expected to arrive over the next two years will run on an all-new EV architecture as previewed in the Neue Klasse concepts. It’s set to improve range by up to 30 per cent, efficiency by up to 25 per cent and energy density by up to 20 per cent. 

This comes from a range of developments in BMW’s sixth-generation eDrive system, which features new motors and a new battery cell design, new tyres and a new braking system, all controlled by its new ‘Heart of Joy’ next-generation computers and software.

The new system uses four high-performance computers to better control and achieve greater coalescence and reduced latency between the car’s various drive and dynamic systems. It should be able to yield spectacular results in terms of high-performance characteristics in potential future M models, too.


“The BMW of the future will have four totally new super-brains: high-performance computers working smartly together on what, up until now, was processed separately,” said Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development 

“We developed the first super-brain completely in-house. It integrates the entire powertrain and driving dynamics with up to ten times more computing power. The second super-brain will enable the next quantum leap in automated driving.

“Going forward, we will combine four key control units in a single high-performance computer. The result will be more dynamic performance, more precision, more efficiency and even more fun to drive.”


When will the Neue Klasse reach production? 

BMW maintains that the introduction of these new models will begin in 2025, starting with the production version of this concept, thought to be the next-generation iX3. A saloon car, possibly called i3, will follow and closely resemble last year’s Vision Neue Klasse concept.

As for when we will see the potential of this platform fully explored in performance cars? We’re less certain. BMW M is fairly adamant that electrification shouldn’t mean the loss of internal combustion, at least in the short term, but the potential for four-motor control within the ‘Heart of Joy’ system opens up some exciting opportunities. We have a feeling BMW will have a broad offering of M-powered cars going into the second half of this decade.

  • BMW

  • Neue Klasse

  • Neue Klasse X

  • Vision Neue Klasse

  • bmw_vision_neueklasse_goodwood_02092023_list.jpg


    Vision Neue Klasse previews BMW's reinvention

  • bmw_neueklasse_frankel_goodwood_15092023_list.jpg


    Reinventing BMW | Thank Frankel it's Friday

  • bmw_im3_goodwood_29112023_list.jpg


    BMW trademarks 'iM3' for first all-electric M car