This BMW EV Concept Previews The Electric Future (And Not Everyone Will Be Happy)

BMW is once again reviving the iconic Neue Klasse formula, and this time, electric cars are the test bed. The German carmaker has just revealed the Vision Neue Klasse, a concept car that will go into production as early as 2025 and might hit the roads as an electrified BMW 3 Series sedan. This one truly looks like a car from the future, thanks to its disdain for interior clutter, a minimalist approach to infotainment, and upholstered seats that look equal part regal and equal part lifted from a Herman Miller ergonomic chair.

"We are not just writing the next chapter of BMW; we're writing a whole new book," notes BMW executive Frank Weber, adding that it will inspire other BMW models down the road. The design may not be truly worth the Neue Klasse tag, but the changes inside are remarkable, including a significant 25% boost in energy efficiency.

The concept relies on the new round battery cells that offer 20% higher energy density, while the sixth-gen BMW eDrive technology promises a 30% uptick in both charging speeds and range. For the first time, the BMW Panoramic Vision heads-up display will project information across the entire width of the windscreen. With the debut of the next-gen BMW iDrive system, both the driver as well as the passenger will have control over the information projected on the Panoramic Vision while also letting the driver shift the content of the Central Display to the wider screen strip.

The grille lives

At first glance, the Vision Neue Klasse concept looks like a more realistic interpretation of the iVision Dee, featuring the same fundamental design all across but with more production-ready elements inside and out. There are almost no character lines, the 3D-printed tail outline serves retro vibes, and the slanted LEDs on the front take some inspiration from the Ford Mustang. It's an interesting hodge-podge of design elements given a futuristic makeover, but not everything here will win favorable glances.

Let's get straight to the point here. BMW is not willing to let go of that divisive kidney grille. Instead, the brand has only exaggerated it to such an extent that the faux grilles now cover the entire front profile. It's nowhere near as obnoxious as the iX or the i4, but if you are among the fanboys venting against huge kidney grilles in a Reddit forum, know that it is here to stay –- electric, hybrid, or combustion format.

The only saving grace here is that the kidney grilles now serve a 'phygital' purpose and the chrome-inspired lines add some character to it. BMW says the grille offers a "lighting effect with precise three-dimensional animation" when a person is nearby. BMW is also taking a similar tech-savvy approach for sides, where the absence of door handles stands out. Instead, BMW is using e-ink, just like its ambitious color-changing concept, that lights up to show a person where to wave for the door to open.