BMW is reportedly launching a spiritual successor to the i3. A compact electric entry-level model, but without the controversial styling of the i3.
A BMW without a controversial design? It seems impossible nowadays, but according to Automobilwoche that is exactly what BMW wants. Development chief Frank Weber reports to the German trade magazine that BMW is considering what the Germans so nicely call an ‘Einstiegsstromer’, an electric entry-level model. “BMW should definitely come up with an affordable, compact model again,” Weber reportedly said. “We believe it is important to offer customers good access to the BMW brand, and that is why careful consideration is being given to how such an entry-level model can be part of the Neue Klasse model family.”
The ‘ Neue Klasse ‘ is a series of electric models of a new generation, on a new and ‘dedicated’ electric platform. This is different from how the brand now approaches the electric business, namely with electric i models based on existing platforms and usually also using existing bodies and interiors. The first production car from the ‘New Class’ will be a 3-series-like (possibly also an i3, but different) in 2025, and the second an SUV. More models will follow later, of course, including apparently a compact hatchback. Such as the ‘old’ i3, of which BMW sold 250,000 between 2013 and 2022. That car is loved by many, but according to Weber, not everyone sees it as a ‘real’ BMW. The new compact electric model should do this differently: compact, but not ‘weird’.
Such a compact model is irrevocably in the path of that other BMW brand: the Mini. It has been proven often enough that this does not have to be mutually exclusive. After all, a Mini Countryman also exists next to the technically identical BMW X1, and BMW also still has the (petrol-fired) 1-series. As Frank Weber himself indicates, such an entry-level model is primarily a good way for the brand to attract and retain customers. After all, anyone who will soon drive the entry-level Neue Klasse will, if all goes well, be more inclined to switch to a larger and more expensive model of the same brand.