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Home » BMW EV Transformation is Underway with the iX3, First Neue Klasse EV platform

BMW EV Transformation is Underway with the iX3, First Neue Klasse EV platform

BMW-Vision-Neue-Klasse

BMW is charging ahead into an electric future, and the recently unveiled iX3 marks the start of a new electric SUV era for the automaker. As BMW navigates its transition to electric vehicles, the company is utilizing two key architecture platforms to power its lineup.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse: Make Grand debut at IAA Car Show in Munich

The mainstream CLAR platform currently underpins most of BMW’s rear-wheel drive models. Introduced in 2015, CLAR stands for Cluster Architecture and focuses on lightweight and adaptable design to accommodate both combustion engines and hybrid powertrains. This flexible platform facilitates BMW’s gradual shift to electrification, with familiar models like the 5-series, 7-series, and 3-series sedans based on CLAR.

Complementing CLAR is BMW’s brand new Neue Klasse architecture tailored specifically for pure electric models. Neue Klasse, meaning “New Class” in English, is a fitting name with historic significance for BMW. Back in 1961, the automaker’s Neue Klasse 1500 model marked a rebirth of the company, transforming their image from an economy car maker to a premium performance brand.

Fast forward to today, and the Neue Klasse platform represents another new chapter as BMW’s first architecture exclusively designed for battery-electric vehicles. The recently unveiled i Vision Dee concept previews what we can expect from this next-gen EV platform. BMW states that Neue Klasse will enable models with improved driving dynamics, increased range, and advanced charging capabilities compared to today’s EVs.

BMW-Vision-Neue-Klasse

BMW’s Twin Platform Strategy for the X3 and iX3

To seamlessly bridge their shift to electric, BMW is taking a twin platform approach for the next iterations of the popular X3 SUV and its electric counterpart, the iX3.

The 2024 X3 will continue to leverage the flexible CLAR architecture, transitioning from combustion engines to hybrid technology. Meanwhile, the 2025 iX3 will make history as the first model powered by the new Neue Klasse platform engineered specifically for EVs.

This dual platform technique allows BMW to evolve its vehicles incrementally rather than reinventing them overnight. For customers, it means the new X3 and iX3 models will retain the core DNA and capabilities that make them BMWs, while incrementally optimizing the powertrain.

A Distinct Identity for the iX3 Electric SUV

As the first Neue Klasse EV, expect the technology-packed iX3 to usher in a more radical redesign both inside and out compared to the transitional X3. Moving to a dedicated EV platform opens up new opportunities to create a lighter, more aerodynamic exterior profile from the ground up.

Inside, the all-new iX3 can do away with design constraints imposed by bulky combustion engines. Its minimalist cabin will combine sustainability and next-gen technology through the use of recycled materials, augmented reality displays, and intuitive user experiences.

BMW also plans to introduce new badging and naming conventions that draw clearer lines between their electric and internal combustion engine models. This includes phasing out the “i” designation from conventional BMWs and using it exclusively for EVs. The goal is to establish the iX3 and future “i” models as distinct entities in the lineup, separate from traditional X3s with gasoline or diesel powertrains.

bmw-i5

Augmented Reality Windshields to Debut in the iX3

One of the most exciting technologies destined for the Neue Klasse-based iX3 is BMW’s new “panoramic visual solutions” feature. Using augmented reality, it essentially turns the entire windshield into a heads-up display screen.

Graphics, vehicle data, navigation directions and more onto the driver’s field of view. You can also selectively limit the AR imagery to just the driver’s side, avoiding distraction for passengers who may not need access to the same information.

BMW promises this augmented reality windshield will merge the digital and physical worlds for a seamless user experience. It’s a glimpse into the immersive interfaces and visual solutions
that our future smart vehicles could enable.

As BMW ramps up for this electric evolution, the technological capabilities showcased in the iX3 concept highlight why the company remains a leader in innovation and design. The Neue Klasse platform in particular will usher in a new era for BMW EVs with augmented reality, unique styling and dynamic performance tailored specifically for zero-emissions driving.

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