BMW’s electric car offerings have had a rather lackluster reception over the past decade. The i8 acted as a halo car of the brand but never really took the throne of the BMW M cars. After all, what is a BMW without at least a six-cylinder engine seems a little ridiculous to automotive enthusiasts. But with times changing the electric car must take its place in the BMW lineup. The i3 saw wider success than the i8 as a city car. However this past year the electric model range grew rapidly. The offerings from the brand that makes the “ultimate driving machine” now include the i7, iX, i4, and iX3.
The luxury brand is now getting ready to launch the Neue Klasse a platform that all their EVs after 2025 will share. This includes their smallest 1 Series to the highest performing electric M car.
What Is BMW’s Neue Klasse Platform?
Automotive manufacturers have always liked to share platforms between cars. It saves costs and time to develop them, and it makes perfect sense to produce multiple cars from the same factory. The bastion of free-market capitalism the United States perfected this formula in motor city. Multiple brands use the same platforms to produce different models aimed at different sections of the market. Take for example the B platform from Chrysler. Although European manufacturers were slower to adopt this method it is now commonplace at Jaguar Land Rover and the Volkswagen Auto Group. BMW’s Neue Klasse is the next step in this tradition.
According to BMW, this Neue Klasse is their new vision. CEO Oliver Zipse claims it is a “highly symbolic” name. The company coined the term Neue Klasse in the early 1960s in reference to the mid-size category they would soon produce. This started with the 1800 which set the formula for years to come. This includes the twin headlights, Hoffmeister kink, and kidney grille. As proven by the controversy surrounding the G80 M3 and G83 M4 straying from the formula meets plenty of criticism. Thus stepping into the EV era it makes perfect sense to return to the Neue Klasse label. The mid-size sedans such as the 3 Series and 5 Series not only have led the sedan market but also the car market at large. With BMW’s new models, this is of course their aim. BMW claim the original Neue Klasse tripled sales between 1960 and 1970 and as a result, firmly carved their space in the market.
How Will Neue Klasse Change The EV Market?
BMW claims that the marque “went all-out preparing for production of the Neue Klasse, investing vast amounts in creating and expanding high-tech production capacity”. Entering the EV age BMW hopes to do the same again. Over the past decade, BMW invested heavily in ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) technology and in preparation for these new models built a new factory in Hungary. The current crop of BMW EVs do not use this platform but Zipse claims it will launch in the middle of this decade with the 3 Series in 2024. This makes perfect sense, the 3 Series is one of the brand’s best-selling models even with the X3 and X5 biting at its heels. The 3 Series sells in China as an EV called the i3, however, this uses the same platform as the internal combustion-engined 3 Series.
In a statement released in March, Dr. Nicolas Peter from BMW’s board claims that BMW’s EV sales “could already surpass 1.5 million per year” by 2030. The brand commits to becoming net-zero by 2050. The Neue Klasse shall achieve this. According to Peter, “Gen-6 drivetrain generation enables lower costs, enhanced performance, new cell chemistry and new cell formats”. But beyond this new platform, BMW values the car as a digital device. BMW will ensure that all their current technologies such as iDrive will carry over to the next generation of vehicles. To continue the development of their software their relationships with Catena-X and Qualcomm Technologies.
How Else Is BMW Changing?
BMW are acquiring Alpina, a low volume luxury manufacturer that builds cars from BMWs models. Vehicles like the B3 turned the 3 Series into another luxury high-performance car. Alpina’s models lean more into luxury and subtlety, than the more recent M cars. BMW have made no announcement about how this brand fits into the New Klasse. However, it is safe to say that these BMWs will retain their rarity and exclusivity with a high price tag.
The Munich-based manufacturer continues to commit to the climate before the 2025 launch of its new platform. The current 7 Series’ most powerful model is the EV variant the i7, gone are the V12 motors of old. The current generation of BMW products are ready for future Euro 7 legislation that rumors suggest will launch in 2030. Purchasing a new BMW over the next few years then will likely not see the owner penalized. Most importantly the BMW brand is bringing new technologies to more product classes such as iDrive to the 2 Series Active Tourer. The brand will also launch its smallest EV to date this year, the iX1. This car is poised to pioneer the premium electric crossover market, but will have to fend off the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Mercedes-Benz EQA.
BMW i Hydrogen Next Debuts At Frankfurt Motor Show
About The Author