It’s been clear for some time that the forthcoming BMW Neue Klasse lineup is a nod to its heritage, particularly to the original Neue Klasse. There have been speculations that the proportions and styling of the E30 3 Series also inspired the upcoming Neue Klasse 3 Series. Now, we have received official confirmation of this influence. According to Kai Langer, Head of BMW i Design, his team wanted to recapture the sporty essence of the cherished E30 3 Series 2.5-box sedan.

Retro/Digital Styling

In a subtle approach, his design team was tasked to look to the past to illustrate the future. So on the BMW Vision Neue Klasse (the sedan), the design team set the belt line of the Vision Neue Klasse concept car to mirror the window sill height of the E30, the second-generation 3 Series produced from 1982 to 1994. Langer shared this detail with Motor1 during a BMW press event in Portugal, emphasizing, “That was the design instruction I provided. I insisted that the car’s belt line should align with the E30’s.”

This design choice lends the Vision Neue Klasse a sense of heritage without leaning heavily into retro aesthetics. Langer elaborated, “The enlarged greenhouse and the nearly clear glass maximize the car’s brightness,” highlighting the vehicle’s design philosophy. You can also see this styling choice in the Vision X which we called it a retro design, without being retro. The futuristic electric crossover masterfully combines a retro styling with digital elements which make it look fresh.

Of course, there are other inspirations in that Vision Neue Klasse sedan as well. In our own conversation with Domagok Dukec, the boss of BMW design, we learned that another design inspiration came from the E21 3 Series. As you can see above, the nose is angled quite a bit, the overhangs are short and the bonnet is long. Of course, the rear-end is stubby and with an interesting angled shape.

Retro design has been in for years now, and even more recently with the Rivian R3 unveil. But the question always begs: is retro design timeless? Or is it just a fad to capture the attention of old school enthusiasts? In many ways, BMW design cheerishes its heritage with the “new” Neue Klasse, but at the same time, the customer base is vast and more diversified than ever before. Therefore, you need to capture everyone’s attention. What we’ve seen so far is promising, so we can only hope that the production series models stay the course.

[Source: Motor1]