The 2023 Munich Motor Show opened its doors and we were able to board the BMW of the future, electric and ultra-connected.
Media from around the world were invited to what BMW was waiting for with barely contained impatience: being able to present its models of the future to us. A not-so-distant future since it will come to life within two years, from 2025.
In reality at the moment, there is only one car to see, a concept called Vision Neue Klasse. For those who have not completed German LV1 (or even LV2), it translates as “new class”. As a reminder, “Neue Klasse” is the name of the new platform which will welcome no less than six new electric models in 24 months. From 2025 therefore.
At the end of a press conference during which Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BMW, recalled the rise of circularity and digitalization, we were able to board the BMW Vision Neue Class to give you a taste of what awaits us in the future. And it looks exciting.
A simple exterior design
After a few minutes of conference, the scene opens and the car appears in the distance. Through the smoke and the darkness, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse immediately displays its presence, and from a distance, thanks to its illuminated grille. And those who were worried about the follow-up that BMW would give to the gigantic (who said “monstrous”?) grilles of the recent i7 and XM can be reassured, the future is much more reasonable.
The grille extends across the entire width, but with great finesse, displaying a light signature which is again relatively sober, although having a 3D effect. The lights are LED, but the parts giving the 3D effect have not been detailed. On the other hand, BMW tells us: the chrome will disappear, and the light will replace it.
Once the car is in front of us, we are surprised by the proportions that are much more balanced and sporty than in the photos: 4.69 m long, which corresponds to a BMW 3 Series. The sedan is less unibody, and its body in three volumes, with a well-designed hood and trunk, appears more clearly, again making a nod to the past, recalling in particular the BMW 3 Series E30 of the 90s.
We quickly note two things: the simplicity of the design, which echoes the fact that BMW is drastically reducing the number of parts in the car, in a desire for circularity. But also the fact that parts appear black, as if raw, like the side sills and other bumpers. These are recycled and recyclable materials.
Illuminated grille at the front
Rear light signature
At a time when cars are increasingly bunkered with beltlines that reduce the glass surface to its simplest expression, this BMW Vision Neue Klasse is a real breath of fresh air. The passenger compartment is bathed in light with the large windshield and the fully glazed roof which joins the rear window.
The windows also benefit from a beautiful surface, in particular thanks to E Ink technology which makes it possible to increase the glazed surface while allowing interaction with passengers, thanks to a kinematics which welcomes people boarding.
An interior bathed in light
As this is still only a concept, and our meeting with it only takes place a few hours before the opening to the press and the public of the IAA show in Munich 2023, we had to be persuasive to go up to its edge. But for readers of CssTricksnothing is impossible.
Moreover, we understand quite quickly why BMW does not want the comings and goings in this show car are linked together. The fragility is apparent, the windows are stuck and do not go up or down… and we are told that the door is opened by remote control after activating a button under the car. Not easy.
As a result, we were not able to test the automatic opening of the door with the car which detects our presence. But once it is opened, the invitation to take the wheel is immediately felt thanks to these molded seats trimmed with very beautiful yellow velvet which brightens the cabin even more.
The driving position is sporty, the multifunction steering wheel within easy reach, as is the central screen barely turned towards the driver, but nevertheless very accessible.
Connectivity of the future
The BMW Vision Neue Klasse not only immerses us in the future design of BMWs but also in the solutions that will arrive very soon to offer a cutting-edge user experience. And this taste that we got when we got into the concept amazed us.
Starting with what BMW calls Panoramic Vision, which is a head-up display that takes up absolutely the entire width of the windshield over a strip of around fifteen centimeters. And it is clear that BMW has a promising technology based on a Matrix LED screen from Samsung placed flat under the windshield and whose image will be reflected perfectly well on it.
Communication is thus done with the passenger with whom the driver manages the passage of information, speed, navigation, multimedia, but also the central screen which simplifies the sending of information on this HUD. Moreover, a second head-up display is superimposed on the driver’s side of the Panoramic Vision, this time for driving information. And for those who are frightened by this profusion of screens, real or projected, know that everything is done in the simplest and most intuitive way possible. With information that is displayed in a very readable manner.
This entire device is part of the future generation of BMW iDrive which we detail in this article.
Less consumption, more autonomy
Obviously this new generation of upcoming models materialized by this Vision Neue Klasse concept will be 100% electric. In fact, the Neue Klasse platform has been optimized for the brand’s future zero-emission models. Moreover, BMW is talking to us here about a 6th generation model, this one starting precisely in 2025.
To do this, the Munich manufacturer has relied on all the factors that affect consumption and therefore the range of an electric car. From the engine, to the aerodynamics, including the weight, the tires, the management of the air conditioning and of course the electrical system, everything has been scrutinized to be able to arrive at more than promising figures.
Thus, compared to a current BMW iX3 rear-wheel drive, the future SUV based on the Neue Klasse promises 25% less consumption, which takes us around 13 kWh per 100 km. And the future sedan promises -20% consumption compared to an i4 eDrive40, which could result in consumption around 11 kWh/100 km.
At the same time, future 6th generation BMW productions will be equipped with an 800 volt high voltage system allowing charging much faster: up to 300 km recovered in 10 minutes.
As for the battery, in particular thanks to the use of new round cells and no longer prismatic, they promise a density increase of 20%. Autonomy will be greatly improved with an increase of up to 30% compared to current models. Enough to cover the 800 km.
Our opinion on the BMW Vision Neue Klasse
Seeing a concept in photos and discovering it in real life and even being able to climb inside it changes everything. And this BMW Vision Neue Klasse made a much better impression on us in real life, with more balanced proportions, more visual presence and technologies that don’t seem as far from reality as they could.
While the concept will obviously never see the light of day as such, it projects us into a not-so-distant future: just two years. We do not yet know exactly how this future and sixth generation of BMW vehicles will materialize first – sedan, SUV – but it is clear that BMW, although on the electric market for more than ten years (the i3 was released in 2013), is moving up a gear in the electrification of its range. And it’s very promising.
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