BMW‘s radical New Class with us sooner than you expect
The last time BMW made a ‘New Class’ car, it rescued the company from a deep financial crisis at the time. It also reinvented the brand. New Class spawned the 1800, 2000 and 2002 range of the late ‘60s and early 1970s. Now Munich intends for this next ‘New Class’ to define how BMW sees the future of our mobility.
It’s no coincidence that the all-new iVision Dee New Class concept trotted out at Las Vegas’ Customer Electronics Show this week, telegraphs the lines of its 1960s counterpart. Short for Digital Emotional Experience, iVision Dee clearly carries the upright, chisel nosed lines of that original New Class.
New Class Has a Big Job to Do!
The new one however has a far bigger job to do. The future in 2023 is significantly different from what it was sixty years ago. Due in showrooms during 2025, BMW boss Oliver Zipse promises that iVision Dee benchmarks the next BMW electric car in many exciting and different ways.
“IVision Dee is not a concrete preview of our first BMW model based on the New Class platform,” Zipse iterates. “Nevertheless, it gives first indications of its design. “Our styling team will use this as the basis for the first renderings of the new car.”
Much like the broader original New Class face, iVision Dee reinterprets the BMW double kidney grille in a horizontal plane. Existing vertical designs are technically unnecessary in electric cars anyway. The concept has a shorter front end. Its A-pillars start further forward and rise more gently. For better aerodynamics.
More than Just Pure Classic Aesthetics
The traditional BMW Hofmeister kink is prominent in the D-pillar. The rear falls gently away. As it did on the original New Class. The new car’s taillights pick up on the frontal design. Pure, classic aesthetics are however only a part of BMW’s future look.
IVision Dee‘s chameleon bodywork changes colour to display any pattern. It is covered in 240 electrical impulse charged ink foil tech segments. Each displays up to 32 different real colours. It spreads as far as the hubcaps. And can even show an avatar of the driver on the side window! This latest e-ink system is far faster than the black and white 2022 iX original.
New Series opens up to a radical new cockpit. It is based on completely redefined IT and software architecture. Minimalistic to the extreme, New Class almost completely eliminates traditional touch screens, dials, buttons, and gauges.
New Class Shows the Cockpit of the Future
Run en main via voice control and steering wheel mounted touch sensitive user interfaces, a head-up display extends across most of the width of the windscreen. It has five stages, from basic driving information, up to where the outside world is no longer visible.
This is all part of BMW’s plan to completely revolutionise the way we drive. “The car cockpit as we know it, is a thing of the past,” Zipse contends. “Voice control will play a far more important role in your motoring future.”
BMW’s current UKL front and all, and CLAR rear and all-wheel drive platforms accommodate all of combustion, hybrid, and purely electric drive. New Class is however exclusively designed as a pure battery electric drive platform.
Hydrogen Ready New Class To Get Torque Vectoring?
Munich is furthermore evaluating the use of hydrogen fuel cell drive technology. “New Class will be hydrogen capable,” Mr. Zipse admitted at CES. “But we must still decide whether we use that in New Class.
New Class will accommodate e-motors on both axles. Or even one per wheel to enable real torque vectoring and leave all drive options open. The platform will be tailored to a variety of mid-class car dimensions from a compact sedan to a sporty SUV. Even a chic 3-seater electric station wagon is under consideration for the longer-term future.
BMW plans to use next generation lithium-ion battery cells with the potential of lithium iron phosphate cathodes. New Class will feature newly developed electric drive and battery generation. And a wholistic system of sustainability across its entire life cycle.
New Class Here ‘the Year After Next!’
Pre-production work around the electric-only middle class classic four-door sedan New Class meanwhile begins mid-2024. First production models are due a year or so later. BMW has however promised all owners the power of drive choice. It remains unclear how it will address its combustion car future for owners who may still prefer, or require that option.
“This is far more than just a vision,” BMW CEO Oliver Zipse concluded at CES. “New Class will be the benchmark in range, charging speed and innovation. “And don’t forget price! “Our customers will experience this completely new technology in their vehicles from as early as 2025. “Need I remind you, that is the year after next!”