Although the Vision Neue Klasse concept was a sedan, the first BMW model to utilize the all-new dedicated electric underpinnings will be an SUV. The automaker hasn’t provided an explanation, but it’s not hard to understand why a replacement for the iX3 has been prioritized. The SUV segment offers more lucrative opportunities as demand for sedans has dwindled in recent decades.
Ahead of its market launch next year, the Neue Klasse-based SUV has been spotted testing out in the open. Since it won’t be available for sale until the second half of 2025, BMW is in no hurry to start peeling off the camouflage. Despite the disguise, it’s easy to notice that the prototype already features the production body and the new interesting face we saw last year on the Vision Neue Klasse.
Bearing the internal codename “NA5,” the electric-only SUV appears to conceal a wide front grille flanked by headlights hidden beneath stickers. While it’s uncertain whether these are the actual lights or a provisional setup, they represent the final shape. Logically, any changes to the proportions of the headlights would require altering the body panels around them.
The upcoming iX3 (name not confirmed) exhibits seemingly shorter front and rear overhangs, accompanied by door handles that remain flush with the body when not in use. Although the overall shape and size don’t appear vastly different compared to the CLAR-based model currently on sale, we can expect the styling to be a major departure. At the rear, the taillights look rather basic, leading us to believe they may not be the production-ready clusters.
We’re dealing with the standard-wheelbase version, but China is getting a stretched model (“NA8”) that will be locally built with more legroom for passengers in the back. Speaking of the interior, expect a revamped cabin featuring the tenth-generation iDrive, as previewed by the Vision Neue Klasse. The driver’s display is likely to become a thing of the past, replaced by a dashboard-wide head-up display known as Panoramic Vision. This tech is coming to non-Neue Klasse models as well.
If the Vision Neue Klasse is any indication, the infotainment system will be even larger than the current 14.9-inch screens used by BMW and will be repositioned in the center of the dashboard. BMW will further embrace the “less is more” approach by eliminating most traditional controls. The iDrive controller will be deleted , but some haptic buttons on the steering wheel are planned. Everything else will be accessible from the touchscreen.
Sources close to BMW report production is scheduled to start in July 2025, so the official reveal could take place by the end of 2024 or early next year. The Neue Klasse SUV is going to be assembled in Hungary at the company’s new factory in Debrecen. About a year later, an equivalent sedan will roll off the assembly line at the Munich plant in Germany.