The BMW 1500 debuted at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show as the first of the Neue Klasse models (meaning New Class in English). These vehicles were unlike anything the brand had ever produced, with crisp lines and chiseled shapes influencing the automaker's design language well into the 1990s. Until Chris Bangle showed up.
BMW has a new Neue Klasse on the horizon that, much like the original, aims to revolutionize the brand. And not just stylistically. The modern Neue Klasse name represents an entire architecture for next-generation electric vehicles.
We've already seen the Neue Klasse in concept form (twice, in fact), but the first of those new EVs won't debut until 2025. In the meantime, here's what we know.
What Is The BMW Neue Klasse?
The Neue Klasse platform is specifically for EVs and it integrates batteries into a vehicle's structure. The packs range anywhere from 75.0 to 150.0 kilowatt-hours, with the drivetrain supporting 800-volt packs and fast charging at up to 270 kilowatts. When plugged in, the Neue Klasse will be able to add 30 miles of range every minute.
The models riding on the Neue Klasse architecture use cylindrical battery cells that BMW is developing in-house. They offer 30 percent more energy in the same footprint as the current prismatic cells. These packs could provide a range as high as 621 miles between charges.
What's Under The Hood?
The Neue Klasse platform can handle a variety of electric motors ranging from 268 to as much as 1,341 horsepower – the latter with a rumored quad-motor setup. The powertrain can support rear- and all-wheel drive configurations. It's also possible for two drive units to power the back wheels exclusively.
What Does It Look Like?
It depends. Since Neue Klasse is a vehicle architecture rather than a single model, it can support multiple types of vehicles. The first product on this platform will reportedly be an electric crossover that will take over the iX3 moniker. The second will be a 3 Series-sized sedan allegedly in i320 or i330 variants. The company will also develop Neue Klasse vehicles specifically for China, and Mini will even use the Neue Klasse underpinnings, too.
In September 2023, BMW introduced the Vision Neue Klasse concept at the IAA Mobility show in Munich. It heralds back to the Neue Klasse models of the 1960s with a chiseled shape, but with modern amenities like 3D-printed lighting elements. Inside, there's a new take on the automaker's iDrive infotainment system, including a Panoramic Vision head-up display spanning the windshield.
Will The Neue Klasse Get An M Model?
Probably. Although BMW doesn't offer many details about the performance models riding on the Neue Klasse platform, the company did file a trademark for the name "iM3," and there are rumors that a potential M model could use a quad motor setup making as much as 1,341 hp. If BMW follows its normal launch cadence, look for the meaner models to come a year or two after the standard versions.
When Does It Debut?
The first model on the Neue Klasse platform will debut in the second half of 2025. BMW will initially build the Neue Klasse models in Debrecen, Hungary, and Shenyang, China. It will begin assembling them in Germany in 2026, and other models will come from Mexico starting in 2027.
How Much Will It Cost?
It depends on the vehicle. Since at least six vehicles will ride on the Neue Klasse platform, they will be available at various prices. While we don't have any firm numbers yet, the new batteries are reportedly less expensive than the current ones. The lower manufacturing costs mean that the models' costs could be closer to existing combustion-powered models.