BMW Group’s headline announcement at its annual conference in March was the Die Neue Klasse. That doesn’t mean that a ‘BMW Klasse’ car is coming from Munich. BMW Group is not aping the Mercedes-Benz nomenclature but using the German name for a new vehicle platform that would underpin every volume BMW car in the future, possibly starting with the next-gen BMW X5.
Die Neue Klasse takes its name from the Neue Klasse of the 1960s, which marked the beginning of a radical change in BMW’s production direction back then. History will repeat itself this decade when the BMW line-up adopts the Die Neue Klasse platform. Die Neue Klasse is more than just a vehicle platform, though. It includes a new software architecture and a new level of sustainability.
Die Neue Klasse BMW models will make use of a newly-developed electric drivetrain and next-gen battery packs. “An electric drive train based on the hydrogen fuel cell could also be a part of this,” Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BMW Group’s BoM, said at the event. Zipse confirmed that the company will launch a production version of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT concept, which will be the BMW X5 hydrogen FCEV, next year. He said that the production version will be manufactured in a low volume, but we expect that if there’s enough demand the model in the Die Neue Klasse era, a BMW X5 FCEV could be a regular, high-volume derivative in the future generations.
Theoretically, BMW Group’s Neue Klasse platform is similar to Daimler’s MMA platform. ‘Electric First’ is the powertrain strategy for this platform, and should there be a need, a combustion engine can be fitted. BMW Group may launch all its Neue Klasse models with a pure electric powertrain, and in some cases, a hybrid powertrain. Every Neue Klasse BMW would have an electrified rear axle, be it a BEV or a hybrid EV. Daimler has said that the MMA platform is meant for only compact and mid-size cars, while the Neue Klasse platform may allow building big cars like the X5 and X6.
The current-gen BMW X5 debuted in June 2018 and could be replaced by directly a Die Neue Klasse platform-based generation in 2025. Neue Klasse in the 1960s initially gave brand-new sedans that have been succeeded by models like the BMW 5 Series and BMW 3 Series today. However, the BMW line-up has evolved in the new millennium to include SUV models in every segment. So, the Die Neue Klasse range will include coupes, sedans, SUVs and SUV coupes. During the Q&A session after the conference, Frank Weber, the R&D boss of BMW Group, talked about Die Neue Klasse with analysts and hinted the same. He said:
Die Neue Klasse is based on the new cluster architecture as we call it, and this new cluster architecture which is going to be consistently electric, digital, and sustainable, is indeed the new building principle for the whole BMW portfolio. It is supposed to cover the whole BMW portfolio.Frank Weber, BoM member responsible for Development, BMW Group
The first BMW Die Neue Klasse model will be previewed by a concept at IAA 2021 (2021 Munich Motor Show) that will open on September 6, 2021. A teaser hinting at the grille was revealed at the annual press conference.
Featured Image Source: BMW Group