BMW’s Vision Neue Klasse X Has a Car-Wide Screen and a ‘Joy’ Brain

“The ‘heart of joy’ effectively takes 30 years of experience and blends it into a single control unit,” BMW chief technical officer Frank Weber tells WIRED. “Everything that is driving-performance-related, chassis-control-related, powertrain-related—it’s all integrated into one control unit. If you love the idea of the ultimate driving machine, there are functions in there that are crazy. It’s the same for the infotainment system. To do it properly for your customers, you have to own the critical software stacks and the software development process.”

Crazy M Performance Promise

Weber insists that increasing the size of batteries is incompatible with BMW’s sustainability goals but promises authentic BMW vibes from its M-division high-performance derivatives. “Neue Klasse is ambitious and will do things far above what we have today,” he claims. “Future M cars will have close to a megawatt of power (1,340 bhp) with the ability to control each individual wheel.”

BMW's Vision Neue Klasse X driving on a desert road

Photograph: BMW

“Some people might miss the sound of a combustion engine but definitely not how the car behaves. It’s incredible. Everything required for M is baked into this new technology platform. As our engineers learned more about the capabilities of the system, so their confidence increased. It’s about how the car moves. And the control possibilities with electric cars means you can go crazy.”

Now back to the Vision X. If the iX and i7 are too much for you, then this new concept suggests a definite rebalancing of the aesthetic order. It’s a clean, modern looking car with a powerful but more nuanced sense of identity.

“We wanted to define the true-to-the-bone heritage of BMW,” head of i design Kai Langer tells me, “and the Vision X is our pure essence. Try to remove a line from this car and you just won’t be able to. The Vision X is clearly a BMW, even though it has completely different proportions. It’s uncomplicated, reduced, bold and alive.”

Getting 3D Grilled

BMW's Vision Neue Klasse X

Photograph: BMW

Interestingly, there are shades of the original 02 series, which debuted in 1966, as well as hints of the beloved ’70s 3.0 CSL, and even the early ’80s E30 3 series. The Vision X wears these influences lightly, but the fact that they’re there at all suggests that a rethink has occurred. The vertical double kidney grille will be reserved for BMW’s X SUV models henceforth, a subtle horizontal treatment being used on sedans and sports cars.

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