Last year, BMW killed off the i3, its quirky electric hatchback, but it's working on a successor. Many BMW fans will be relieved to hear that it won't share its predecessor's funky looks but will instead look more traditional.
"A lot of people liked [the original i3], but in the eyes of others, the i3 was not a real BMW. A bit of an outsider in the classroom if you will. We will not repeat that in this form," BMW development boss Frank Weber told Automotive News' sister site Automobilwoche.
The next BMW i3 will be built on the Neue Klasse platform, a new all-electric architecture that will underpin all of the brand's new electric vehicles. BMW recently debuted its Vision Neue Klasse concept, which is rumored to be the next-generation i3, and it ditches the old i3's futuristic hatchback shape for a more traditional sedan body. While still a bit funky, the Neue Klasse has shades of classic BMW designs, such as the E12-generation 5 Series. The idea is that its more traditional design will make it feel less like an outsider to loyal BMW fans, which is especially important because the next i3 will be the brand's electric entry point for most customers.
"BMW definitely needs to bring to market an affordable, compact car,” Weber told Automobilwoche. "We attach great importance to offering customers the best possible access to the BMW brand. That is why we are thinking very carefully about how an entry offering can be part of the Neue Klasse family."
It seems unfair to lob design criticism at the BMW i3, though. As strange as the i3's design was, it was far from being as offensive and controversial as some of BMW's other recent designs, such as the XM and M4 Competition. Yes, the Neue Klasse is far more traditional looking than the i3 but the i3 wasn't the problem. At least its strangeness was charming.
Regardless of which Bimmer becomes the design scapegoat, though, it's encouraging that BMW understands its customers' wishes for simpler, more traditional designs moving forward.
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