BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X shows where German company’s SUV design direction is heading in an electric future

The dash material is made of recycled fishing nets

BMW has followed up on its Vision Neue Klasse concept saloon with a higher-riding X model, which previews how it plans to style its X-badged SUVs in the future.

The Vision Neue Klasse X features a light, airy and spacious interior, with surfaces clothed in sustainable materials and a new human-machine interface including a full-width dashboard array beneath the windscreen.

Although it hasn’t been given a model name yet, the Vision Neue Klasse X will go into production at the Debrecen plant in Hungary, a facility designed to build BMW’s electric vehicles (EVs), in 2025.

Next-gen drive technology

The Vision Neue Klasse X employs BMW’s sixth-generation eDrive technology. This marks a shift to more advanced 800-volt electrical architecture, which means both charging speeds and overall driving range are both improved by up to 30 per cent.

This means, on the former score, that at its fastest charging speeds, the Vision Neue Klasse X will take in enough power in ten minutes to go around 186 miles.

Some of the other upgrades include round lithium-ion battery cells that have 20 per cent more energy density (by volume) than the prismatic units previously employed by BMW, while the EV is said to be 20 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than a comparable model in the current line-up.

Four brains are better than one

Perhaps more impressive than the battery system are the new “super-brains” which oversee all functions within the car. Rather like the three Minds which control the starships in Iain M. Banks’ Culture series of sci-fi novels, two of these will control every aspect of how the car drives, tailoring the drive and chassis set-ups to individual needs.

In terms of design, the X takes its inspiration clearly from the Vision Neue Klasse saloon, only with the advantages inherent with an SUV. This means it has increased ground clearance, short overhangs at each end of the vehicle, and a long wheelbase – the space between the front and rear wheels.

The headlights are vertically aligned and repeat BMW’s hallmark light signature, while the kidney grille is a three-dimensional sculpture with backlit contours. In the rear windows, the German company’s long-held “Hofmeister kink” – a design feature that sees the lower-rear window line curved at the back of the vehicle – is repeated with a reflective print.

Lounge-like interior

Large windows and a panoramic glass roof help flood the interior with light, where the driver of the Vision Neue Klasse X sits in an elevated position. The steering wheel has multifunction buttons, while the full-width BMW Panoramic Vision system projects key information across the entire dash below the windscreen. Production models will also have a BMW 3D head-up display.

A completely plant-based, mineral-based and petroleum-free surface material was developed for the interior of the Vision Neue Klasse X, where it clothes the lower door panels and the centre console.

Repurposed sea plastics

Reclaimed plastics from the sea are also used in some of the injection-moulded parts, with it already accounting for 30 per cent of certain components – this sustainable material includes old fishing nets, for instance.

Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said: “Together with the BMW Vision Neue Klasse, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X showcases the breadth of our future BMW model line-up.

“The Neue Klasse reflects the variety of all the models that customers want today and in the future – from sporty sedan, with all its derivatives, to modern SAV family.

“In this way, we are underlining that 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.”

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

“The same principles apply to our SAVs, electric, digital and circular.

“The X models will always remain strong in character: monolithic, clean and with a very distinctive vertical interpretation of the BMW light signature.”

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