During the announcement of the latest quarterly figures, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse confirmed that the new New Class platform planned for 2025 will first be used in the 3 Series segment. Zipse did, however, also somewhat limit the future use of the platform.
Although the platform, which is primarily designed for electric powertrains, can also accommodate combustion engines, BMW apparently plans to launch the Neue Klasse in the 3 Series segment exclusively in pure electric mode: “When it hits the market, it will be concentrated on the 3-Series segment and at that point in time the market will have developed into a size where it is reasonable to have only one drivetrain in that architecture,” Zipse explained.
Previously, the New Class was described as a “cluster architecture” on which electrified vehicles ranging in size from a 2 Series to an X7 could be based. At least that is how BMW’s board member for development Frank Weber presented it in an interview with “Autocar” in October 2021. According to the British magazine, a PHEV drive with a combustion engine on the front axle and an electric motor on the rear axle should also be possible.
Zipse, in turn, had stated in an interview with Car Magazine that the goal of the New Class was “a perfect electrically driven car”. “At a later stage, you could put another type of engine, the combustion engine, on the front axle. The architecture is still BEV-centric. It gives you the absolute best electric driving performance as any pure electric platform; there is no contradiction at all,” Zipse said at the time.
With his current statements, Zipse is still keeping open the option of adding an internal combustion engine to the New Class at a later date. After all, he only stated that “at this point in time” (i.e. the market launch of the New Class in 2025) it would be “reasonable” to introduce only one drive.
On another point, however, the BMW boss is clearer in his statement. The architecture will be “mainly focused on the mid-size segment”. “It does not cover the lower segments up to the luxury class,” Zipse said. This means that the cluster architecture from the compact 2 Series to the luxurious X7 would not have been implemented in this form. Future model launches will show whether this will happen. Zipse did not give any reasons for the possible change of strategy to develop an architecture with a high degree of flexibility and then only use it in the mid-range.
The portal Motor Authority emphasises in its article that the model, internally called NK1, may be an electric 3 Series sedan, but does not have to be. It talks about the “3 Series segment”, which theoretically also includes the iX3 as an e-SUV. Production of the NK1 is scheduled to start in 2025 in Debrecen, Hungary.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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