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BMW’s Neue Klasse to benefit Mini and Rolls Royce

Daniel Gardner

BMW’s’ Neue Klasse tech and design innovations could infiltrate other brands within its wider family

BMW’s Neue Klasse – the company’s biggest consolidation of design and technology principles in 60 years – will quickly infiltrate the entire BMW family and could even breech family lines, donating technology to other BMW Group brands as well.

Revealed at the IAA Mobility show in Munich this week, BMW’s all-encompassing Neue Klasse design and development direction will deliver its first model in 2025, followed by five other all-new models in the 24 months that follow.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse 2024 white rear three quarter
BMW’s Neue Klasse concept was shown off this week and the design and tech it shares could flow to other brands

However, the significant investment and research the German car maker is committing in the venture could realise greater economies of scale by contributing technological advances to Mini and Rolls Royce models.

Speaking at the reveal of the Neue Klasse in Munich, BMW Group head of design Adrian van Hooydonk said while the latest advances in technology, performance and sustainability would first be applied to the BMW family, the company’s size means it has to be ‘clever’ with its investment.

“Let’s firstly focus on BMW but as you know, in the global car world we are relatively small players so we have to be clever,” he said. 

“We have to be clever with certain components and that could be an electric engine, it could be battery cells, it could be some parts of the electric looms or that kind of thing, but we have always been very conscious in terms of design, not to carry over switch gear or anything.”

2042 Rolls-Royce Spectre side
BMW’s ultra-luxury brand Rolls-Royce will benefit from the new tech

So while Mini and Rolls may borrow components including the revolutionary “heart of joy” which incorporates the electric drivetrain and dynamics control computers into the same single electronic control unit, it won’t impact the elements that make each brand individual, says Hooydonk.

“If there is anything shared, you won’t notice. It’s for us to get some economies of scale compared to some other big, big companies that are out there.”

If the Neue Klasse advances are shared, it won’t be until the BMW family is given a head start and Hooydonk confirmed that results of the new company direction would be seen in the line-up soon.

“After we launch the first car in 2025, within the space of two years we’ll change the face of the BMW brand completely in that direction,” he said. “It’s the biggest amount of change that we’ve ever done in the time I’ve been here.

“I hope, like Mini, you’re seeing that we are taking the brand back to its origins and its very assets. We’re cleaning everything up but we are keeping the essence. It’s a big leap forward.”

2024 Mini Cooper SE with new electric Countryman
This week Mini showcased its new hatch and Countryman models

The Vision Neue Klasse concept is a more traditional looking BMW three-box sedan in form – an unexpected move given SUVs are expected to dominate the new range of models, but Hooydonk explained that it was an important step to forge the New Class with a sedan.

“Of course we do SUVs but if you want to show that you’re changing the core of the brand you can show it best in a sedan. Of course it stands for a whole range of vehicles – we’re going to roll that form language out over the entire brand and it’s going to happen quite quickly.”

As to what form the first production model will take, that’s still very much a secret but BMW’s head of design said the model will take a bigger step forward than almost any BMW before it, seeing a trend for all that follow.

“The new vehicle generation that’s coming in 2025 will look like we skipped a generation. It will be that new. We have to start early showing and explaining what we’re doing.

“Design, taste and even how they feel when you drive them will be very different.”

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