Nostalgia is a strong emotion. Think cover songs, or even cover bands. Think clothes.  Think the instant film camera.  And think automotive. How many brands have brought back a former model’s name years later?  We can add BMW to that long list, but in this case, BMW is not bringing back the Neue Klasse name for simply one model, but for an entirely new vision and architecture. While the saying might be “what’s old is new again,” in this case, what was neue is new again.

The roof of the Petersen Museum played host to a reveal of the Neue Klasse Vision X.

Last Thursday, on the roof of the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, BMW unveiled the Neue Klasse Vision X SAV to a select group comprised of media, “friends of BMW,” BMW CCA X Chapter guests, patrons of the museum, and friends of BMW Designworks.

The Neue Klasse moniker resonates in many ways for many people.

I’ve already heard debate about the application of the Neue Klasse name. Tom Plucinsky, BMW North America Head of Product Communications, cleared it up early in the evening for everyone. “The Neue Klasse was our first transformational product back in the early 1960s,” Plucinsky explains. “It was not just one vehicle but a range of vehicles. Here in North America, the Neue Klasse developed a little further and became the 2002. Now is the time for another transformational product, so hence, the Neue Klasse name is back, or maybe the Neue Neue Klasse.”

Photos might not do it justice, but you can count on BMW photographer Sam Cobb’s to look excellent.

For those of you jumping to the keyboard to comment with your concerns, let me intercede.  The only people I have heard with vehement concerns with the Neue Klasse are the people who…have not seen it in person. And conversely, everyone last Thursday evening sure seemed impressed. In fact, the joke among photographers, as you’ll see in these accompanying photos, was that there was never a chance to get a picture of the car without people clamoring all over it. The popular refrain was “photos don’t do this justice.” I suppose I should have led with that caveat if my photos here aren’t that compelling.

CEO of Designworks USA, Julia de Bono, was well versed in the heritage of BMW and the Neue Klasse.

But the car was certainly compelling. CEO of Designworks USA in Santa Monica, Julia de Bono, introduced some of her favorite aspects of the Vision X: the airy and light interior, the front’s clean surfacing, retaining the twin headlights and kidneys, incorporating the Hoffmeister kink, the athletic look of the rear, creative interior materials, and the new customizable panoramic display extending from pillar to pillar.

BMW CCA President-elect Jeff Caldwell explores many of the highlights of the interior and the integrated panoramic windshield.

In BMW parlance, a concept car is generally intended to suggest what is around the corner in about six months or so. This is indeed a Vision car, “a promise of what will come,” as Plucinsky emphasized. And he referenced BMW CEO of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk’s proclamation that “this is a really good representation of what one of the production vehicles will look like,” likely before the end of 2025.

Guests were allowed to scrutinize the Vision X inside and out all night.

This Vision X SAV joins the previously shown Vision sedan as serious hints at what we will see in that timeframe as vision becomes reality. Following that, six more versions of this similarly based on the BEV (battery-electric vehicle) architecture will become available in 24 months.

Tom Plucinsky, BMW North America Head of Product Communications, shared excellent insight into the Neue Klasse, seen here being interviewed by David Rose.

I asked Plucinsky what stood out for him the most. “From a design language standpoint, it’s very clean, very emotional. I like both the Vision Efficient Dynamics and the Vision Efficient Dynamics X,” he says. “Both look very good. I’m very happy and I’m hoping others are, too. For me, driving dynamics are key. We will continue to prove to the world that we can make the ultimate electric vehicle. This is not to degrade the ones we make now. Bringing an emotional driving experience is important with an electric vehicle. You do lose some of the emotions of gas engines with sounds, for example, but we’ll make it up in other ways. I’m really optimistic about what this will bring.”

To hear more from him about how BMW will retain and continue the passion that has made it the ultimate driving machine, definitely catch up on his columns in BMW Car Club Magazine: Roundel. But he adds, “This is not just a new design language. It’s a quantum leap forward in vehicle technology. For us, the ultimate driving machine is most important; driving dynamics matter in all the cars. The key is building emotional attachment and the ultimate driving machine feeling in an electric vehicle. We have some very good electric vehicles on the road right now, but this new architecture will blow that out of the water. And that means it is possible that a high-performance M vehicle can be a BEV and you won’t be disappointed.”

The Neue Klasse Vision X hints at seven forthcoming vehicles starting late 2025.

If you look at this Vision car and can’t see that yet, note that this is but one of those first seven models and like many of the current models, the M often follows the others. This model is roughly the size of the current X3. Although it is too early for a price point, it is intended to be a high-volume vehicle.

The three winners from the X Chapter’s contest, Lindrell Thompson (front passenger), Jason Odden (rear), and Kelly McFarland, could all see themselves in this car…well, they are in this car.

There were plenty of people on hand who could see that already. The BMW CCA X chapter was highlighted at the beginning as guests for the evening. Three of the attendees were there as X chapter contest winners and joined the event from Houston, Texas, Northern California, and Southern California. Houston chapter and X Chapter member Lindrel Thompson, who counts a 2020 X3 as one of his four BMWs, was impressed right away.

X chapter contest winner Lindrel Thompson announced, “The future is here!”

“The future is here! The Neue Klasse exercise was last done by BMW in the 1960s to rethink their products to best meet current and future customer needs,” he says. “I have one of those original vehicles, a ‘71 2002. Now 50 years later, it has been done again!  BMW Group is making a tremendous investment in design and engineering to provide robust choices for us in a world moving to alternative energy choices for our vehicles.”

A four headlight appearance and vertical kidney grilles harken back to the original Neue Klasse.

“Like the previously shown sedan version, this SAV example embodies design and engineering a leap head from the current state,” he continues. “But in an homage to vintage models, the X has a vertical double kidney and four headlights similar to my ‘88 e30.  And it has a lower belt line and bigger greenhouse like my ’02; this new thing looks pleasingly familiar! I retired last year and thought my new X1 would be my ‘forever’ vehicle but after riding in a fellow members iX at the event and seeing the Neue Klasse Vision X, a future BMW BEV is possible!”

Lindrel Thompson captured three of his four classic and modern BMWs, suggesting new or old BMW fan, you’ll like what’s coming next. (photo by Lindrel Thompson)

“A big shout out to BMW NA to invite CCA participation in the event and to Valerie Caprigno and her fellow CCA X Chapter officers for organizing our inclusion,” he adds.  “As excited as I am about the future for BMW products and seeing the Vision X vehicle, my biggest takeaway is the reward of having many great new friends. BMW CCA is truly a rewarding environment that helps complete the BMW ownership experience!

The BMW CCA X chapter guests had a great time seeing the Neue Klasse and hanging out together, too.

This part was not lost on BMW ahead of this event. BMW CCA was largely borne from the enthusiasm around the 2002 in the late 1960s and was responsible for BMW bringing in the E36 M3 as well. So it’s no surprise that the chapter focused on SAVs (the X chapter) would be invited to this type of event.

Satch Carlson, Editor-in-Chief of BMW Car Club Magazine: Roundel, and Valerie Caprigno, BMW CCA X Chapter President, greet each other on the Petersen rooftop.

Current X chapter president Valarie Caprigno traveled from the northeast for the event and loved it. “We were honored with this Xclusive invitation from Tom Plucinsky of BMW NA,” she says.  “Tom and his team have been great supporters of the BMW CCA and this was truly the ultimate in member benefit and Xperience for the participants. What really impressed me about the Neue Klasse X is how practical it seemed at this stage. I think back to other concept vehicles and they seem so far-fetched. The Neue Klasse X seems to balance futuristic, inspired design with every day pragmatism all while giving a nod to BMW’s design history.”

X chapter treasurer Afshawn Towfighi took a close look at the Neue Klasse Vision X.

It was definitely a unique experience for the X chapter members, especially Thompson and the other two contest winners, Kelly McFarland and Jason Odden. X chapter treasurer Afshawn Towfighi was another X chapter member in attendance. “By seeing and having real BMW CCA and X chapter members there who are genuine future customers of the Neue Klasse, we were able to see genuine first-hand reactions to the vehicle. The amount of nods and enthusiasm for the SAV when it was presented was great to experience and should indicate a big win for BMW.”

While it sure seemed production ready, we can imagine the center lock wheels and thin, camera-only “mirrors” might not here when it hits production. Outside of that, most of the guests on hand probably would have driven this rolling Vision car home if they had been allowed.

Kelly McFarland managed plenty of seat time, seen here with Forrest Bennett, Afshawn Towfighi, and Jim Banks.

When the Neue Klasse came to market in the 1960s, it helped lead BMW out of troubled financial times. While the company is doing quite well now, this is a leap further ahead. Indeed, of the past 39 months since January 2021, BMW sales units have seen year-over-year unit sales increases every month but three (April – May post-COVID in 2021).  With what it looks like we have ahead, there is a very strong chance those trends continue.

“If we didn’t believe we were ahead of the competition, we wouldn’t be showing the vehicle now,” Plucinsky adds. “That was the case with the i3 and the i8 and I believe it’s the case here.”




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