Radical reinvention for Neue Klasse electric BMW X3

New SUV's design will be influenced by Vision Neue Klasse concept Bold replacement for BMW iX3 is one of six new-era electric cars due between 2025 and 2027

BMW’s new, upcoming electric SUV has been spotted testing on public roads in Germany, giving us the first glimpse of the dramatic Neue Klasse styling adopted by the brand’s next-generation electric cars in production form. 

The electric SUV, which is due to go on sale in 2026, was pictured sporting a camouflage livery that obscured much of its bodywork, although some elements were left on display.

For example, it is apparent that the SUV will feature a new front grille design, similar to that seen on the BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept presented at the Munich motor show earlier this year. New front and rear light designs are also visible, along with new alloy wheels and flush door handles. 

BMW’s testing has also given a clue as to the size of the new SUV. Pictured alongside other cars on its public testing route, it’s clear it's similarly proportioned to the BMW iX3 - itself an electric SUV based on the firm’s CLAR platform, shared with the internal-combustion BMW X3. That means it will go on sale as a rival to the upcoming Audi Q6 E-tron and Mercedes EQC SUV.

As for the interior, the yet-to-be-named Neue Klasse SUV will feature a host of new technologies. 

Like the Vision Neue Klasse, it will use the highly advanced ninth generation of BMW's iDrive infotainment – complete with panoramic head-up display, gesture-controlled interfaces and voice control – while majoring on sustainability, space and providing a 'warm' and 'familiar' environment, almost unrecognisable from that of BMW's current EVs.

The SUV was shown briefly in a presentation at the unveiling of the dramatic BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept earlier this year.

BMW remains firmly committed to the SUV segment in the future, suggesting electric replacements for the popular X3, X5, X6 and X7 are on the cards. BMW boss Oliver Zipse has already confirmed that BMW will have "six Neue Klasse models in 24 months [from 2025]. From SUV to sedan, we will have something for every customer". 

Design chief Domagoj Dukec told Autocar previously: “The three-box is something we strongly believe in, and in the Neue Klasse, there will be some products [like this]. But of course we also do SUVs and there is a need for SUVs in the future.” 

The firm has already confirmed that the first Neue Klasse model will be a BMW 3 Series-sized saloon, heavily modelled on the new concept car. While the saloon is said to be 20% more efficient overall than its closest predecessor, the SUV will boost that to 25% - suggesting a range of around 360 miles, compared with the iX3’s 286.

Being able to charge at 270kW, meanwhile, will ensure it competes effectively with its similarly revolutionary German rivals, and BMW’s slimmer next-gen batteries should make for a cabin that’s tangibly roomier than the ICE-platform-based iX3’s.

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