The newest BMW concept car, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X, is a peek into the future of the brand’s SUV lineup. BMW Vision Neue Klasse X blends features of other concepts – like the Vision Neue Klasse sedan – with features we already see today on BMW’s electrified SUV, the iX. The vehicle is the culmination of data from 10 million BMW vehicles and over 2,000 individuals.

Despite amassing and applying nearly gratuitous amounts of data, BMW says the vehicle’s primary focus is simplifying interactions. And inside and out, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X is all new. How close is the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X to a production SUV? Kai Langer, Head of BMW i Design, says, “My mom wouldn’t see a difference” between a production version and the concept. Here’s an overall look at the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X from our in-person experience with the car a few months ago.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X Exterior Design

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X draws on cornerstones of the iconic Neue Klasse design. A clear shape, precise lines, and large glass areas give it a “monolithic” shape (BMW’s words). The lighting elements are similar – but not identical – to what we saw on the Vision Neue Klasse sedan. Just like with the sedan, they’re communicative and respond differently to how the driver interacts with the vehicle. For example, when walking up to the car or activating autonomous driving.

The huge lighting element replaces the chrome, making it integral to the design. Narrow taillights and a rear diffusor give the small SUV a sporty look. From the side, lightly flared fenders and sizable alloy wheels give it a modern and aggressive stance.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X Interior Design

Designers worked hard to integrate the display in the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X. They sought a smooth integration between the digital and physical – a pillar of current BMW design. The usual light show spruces up the cabin, with configurable ambient lighting and more. A panoramic glass roof fills the cabin with natural light. With fewer parts, materials were a focus, so it’s a plush space to spend your time. Like elsewhere, the three-spoke steering wheel has capacitive controls on either side. The left spoke primarily controls driver assistance systems, while the right controls Panoramic Vision.

Of course, the centerpiece is the hard-to-miss Panoramic Vision. Six slots sit above the dashboard, offering configurability and instant access to range, weather, media, and more. You can control different functions via voice, touchscreen controls, or the three-spoke squared-off steering wheel. More on that next.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X iDrive and Technology

Most of the time spent with the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X focused on the SUV’s technology. Like the Neue Klasse sedan we’ve already seen, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X comes with a central screen alongside Panoramic Vision – a head-up display that stretches the dashboard’s width.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X introduces much more customization and personalization than we’ve seen so far. For example, you can upload and set a custom background image, and the system will ensure the contrast keeps the text legible. You can also link your social media to your vehicle and have it cycle through, say, your Instagram feed. You can even create your own sounds for the vehicle.

From skins (you read that right, we’ve got full Fortnite) to current tech like over-the-air updates, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X is the most advanced BMW we’ve seen yet. We take a separate, deeper dive on the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X iDrive elsewhere.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X Driving Experience

At this point in the article, some of you are invariably rolling your eyes and screaming, “BMW has lost its way!” at your monitors. Not so fast—I promise there’s some good news. BMW has aimed to reduce the complexity of its vehicles. Wiring harness weight has been cut by 30 percent. Fewer CPUs offer more power and precision than previous vehicle architectures. BMW says the automated driving platform performs its functions five times quicker than the current one.

BMW is focusing on one main control unit – instead of many smaller ones – to handle almost all aspects of driving the vehicle. The tech will “allow them to exploit the full potential of each vehicle.” The idea is that even a squeeze of the accelerator will elicit specific responses from systems like the braking, steering, and suspension systems in order to adjust instantly to the needs of the situation. The BMW Driving Performance Control – wordy as it is powerful – can regulate up to four electric motors simultaneously.

It’s impossible to discuss the newest Neue Klasse vehicles without mentioning autonomous driving. The current goal is to introduce Neue Klasse vehicles with Level 2 autonomy as standard. A growing options list should include Level 3 and Level 4 functions, including automated vaet parking. BMW thinks this tiered introduction will make the vehicle configuration process much easier.

Final Thoughts: BMW Vision Neue Klasse X

Overall, the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X is a step toward the future, whether we like it or not. The humbler grille and generally favorable proportions (compared to current vehicles like the BMW XM) make it feel immediately more likable. Overall, it looks fine, and I can’t wait to drive something based on it. Do you like the BMW Vision Neue Klasse X?