Leak: BMW Neue Klasse X concept brings back classic kidney grille

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept has been leaked ahead of its official unveiling tomorrow, revealing a radical new look for the firm’s next generation of SUVs – headlined by the return of the classic kidney grille. 

The five-seat SUV is set to succeed the existing iX3 as a close technical relation to the new i3 saloon, which was previewed as the Neue Klasse concept at the Munich show last September.

Packing close to 600bhp in its most potent form, the second-generation iX3, codenamed NA5, will be sold alongside petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions of the fifth-generation X3, codenamed G45 – an evolution, rather than a reinvention. 

Images of the outlandish SUV were published to various social media platforms and forums, with an overall design that looks to have been conceived in the mould of the dramatic iX electric SUV, melding futuristic and revolutionary cues with new interpretations of some of BMW’s most notable design features.

These include upright kidney grilles modelled on those from the first generation of Neue Klasse cars of the 1960s. 

The smaller kidney grille represents a major departure from the German brand’s current range and is reminiscent of that on the likes of the 2002 saloon and 3.0 CSL. 

The new grille is set in the middle of an expansive wraparound panel, like that on the earlier Neue Klasse saloon concept.

Its door mirrors have been replaced with cameras and the swage line – a stalwart design feature of BMWs until now – has been moved to the foot of the doors, but the Hofmeister kink ahead of the C-pillar is retained. 

The cabin design is less clear, but the interior looks to major on providing a similarly airy and bright environment as the saloon concept, aided by a low-set windowline, a panoramic roof and brightly coloured upholstery.

The parallelogramic touchscreen looks to have been carried over and the full-width head-up display is also expected to feature. 

Powertrain details remain scarce, but the new iX3 will be one of the first cars to sit on BMW’s new EV-specific Neue Klasse platform and will be available in rear- and four-wheel-drive layouts in both standard and M-branded performance guises. 

A four-wheel-drive iX3 M60 flagship, expected to produce 600bhp, is due in 2026.

This and other Neue Klasse models are also expected to support charging at up to 350kW on DC chargers for notably reduced charging times.

It will feature a new sixth-generation lithium ion battery that has been developed in-house at BMW, whose chemical make-up will allow it to provide it with more range from batteries that are the same size as those in use by current BMW EVs.

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