BMW has been spotted testing an electric compact crossover thought to be a member of its much-hyped Neue Klasse EV family.
German for “New Class,” the vehicles will ride on a next-generation EV platform that promises improved power and efficiency. The batteries will feature a new cylindrical cell design (instead of the current prismatic cell design), and together with other improvements should result in a range improvement of 30% over BMW’s current batteries, the automaker has said.
The first Neue Klasse EV will arrive in 2025, likely as a 2026 model in the U.S. It will be a sedan in the same segment as the 3-Series, and possibly badged as an i3, a nameplate already used on an electric version of the current 3-Series sedan sold exclusively in China.
The sedan will be followed shortly by a crossover, likely the model seen here testing. The crossover will also likely arrive as a 2026 model in the U.S., and may be badged an iX3, given its similar size to the X3 which is about to be redesigned. An electric version of the current X3 is already sold overseas as an iX3, so the Neue Klasse version will likely end up as its successor.
Four more Neue Klasse EVs will follow in quick succession, though these will most likely be different versions of the initial sedan and crossover, such as a wagon or coupe-like crossover.
Unlike BMW’s current EVs, the Neue Klasse models will feature distinct styling to distinguish them from BMW’s gas-powered lineup. The look was previewed by BMW’s Vision Neue Klasse concept that debuted at the 2023 Munich auto show and is a close representation of the initial sedan.
The crossover prototype looks to have more rounded edges than the chiseled concept, but elements like the front fender lines and headlights integrated with a wide grille appear to have been faithfully transferred over for production. BMW said Neue Klasse proportions will differ from the past, not only for aerodynamics but also to boost interior space.
BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept
There’s no shot of the interior, but BMW has promised head-up displays spanning the windshield, and automated driver-assist features ranging up to Level 3 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability. Level 3 means a vehicle that enables hands-off, eyes-off operation in specific conditions, but requires the driver to be ready to take back control at a moment’s notice.
The first Neue Klasse EV will be built at a plant under construction in Debrecen, Hungary, starting in 2025. Neue Klasse EVs will also be built at existing BMW plants in Germany and China, starting in 2026, and in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, starting in 2027.