There seems to be some confusion in Munich, over the direction in which to take its future of electrified vehicles. Or at least some difficulty communicating that direction. According to a recent report, BMW is planning on scrapping its current architectures by 2025 and switching over to an all-new flexible architecture, which will revive an iconic name from BMW’s past — Neue Klasse.
Translated from German to English, “Neue Klasse” means new class and the original Neue Klasse chassis underpinned such cars as the iconic BMW 2002. So bringing back the name for a new flexible chassis is actually a cool idea. However, the implementation of the chassis itself is extremely confusing.
This new report claims that the New Neue Klasse (Neue Neue Klasse?) architecture is going to replace the current CLAR and UKL rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive architectures, respectively, on which current BMWs are built. It’s also said that while this Neue Klasse of vehicles will predominantly be electric, there will be room for internal combustion engines.
However, BMW previously said it was going to do this with an all-new architecture called the “Power of Choice”. As far as we know, Power of Choice is out and Neue Klasse is in and it’s not just a name change but an entirely new platform. Why the change? We’re not sure.
What’s even more confusing is that, just a week or two ago, we heard that BMW was actually working on a new, purely electric platform similar to what the Volkswagen Group is doing. While that could still be true and Neue Klasse will bridge the gap between now and then, it still seems like BMW is sitting on the fence, in terms of internal combustion and electrification.
This report also claims that the Neue Klasse chassis will change the fundamental designs of BMWs as we know them. For instance, since all internal combustion engines, if applicable, will be quite small, Neue Klasse BMWs will ditch their traditionally long hoods in favor of much shorter ones. Additionally, aerodynamics will play a larger design in styling than ever before, as will an emphasis on interior cabin space. Though, to be fair, those same things could be said about the legendary BMW 2002, with its stubby front end, simple aerodynamic (for the time) shape, tall glass, and spacious cabin.
So this Neue Klasse architecture will reportedly replace the previously announced Power of Choice but, while mostly electric, it’s not going to be an entirely new EV platform, despite us hearing that BMW was working on one. It’s also going to replace the CLAR and UKL architectures but if it’s going to have internal combustion engines, we don’t see how it will be able to provide both rear and front-wheel drive vehicles. So will BMW cease development on front-drive cars?
There are a lot of questions that need answers and we simply do not have them at this time. We’re in contact with BMW about all of this to see if we can make heads or tails of it. But, as far as we know now, the Neue Klasse is coming back and the idea is for it to make as big of an impact as the original Neue Klasse did back in the ’60s.
[Source: Motor Authority]