2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse SUV Caught Winter Testing, Will Start Production July 2025

2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5) 12 photos
Photo: Baldauf
2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse (NA5)
Similar to what Mercedes-Benz is doing with the GLE-Class and EQE SUV, fellow German automaker BMW intends to separate the internal combustion-engined X3 from the iX3. For the time being, the rear-biased sport utility vehicles are based on the Bavarian company's CLAR platform.
Spied testing in Scandinavia, the all-new iX3 is a completely different animal from the current model. For starters, it rocks the Neue Klasse platform as opposed to an evolution of the CLuster ARchitecture of the all-new X3. But more importantly, said platform will ensure better performance and more driving range for the NA5 compared to the CLAR-based G08. Revealed in 2018 as a concept, the G08 is produced in China.

BMW couldn't make a case for the first-ever iX3 in the United States due to its relatively poor driving range. It's also rear-wheel drive instead of dual-motor AWD, which completely misses the point of a sport utility vehicle. Even if driven exclusively on the road, a heavy electric vehicle feels much better from a dynamic standpoint with all-wheel drive.

Turning our attention back to the NA5, the second-generation iX3 is pretty similar in footprint to the fourth-generation X3. The Munich-based automaker calls the internal combustion-engined model G45, and our spy photographers have recently had the opportunity to check the newcomer inside. Instead of a traditional gear shift knob for the ZF 8HP torque-converter automatic, the G45 uses a toggle switch-like gear selector.

Compared to the rear-mounted transmission of the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT, the 2026 BMW iX3 is expected with direct drive. Word on the street is that BMW is cooking up a Tesla-like naming convention for the iX3, although said rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. In any case, it's certain that we're in for at least two powertrain choices (RWD and AWD) and two battery sizes.

2026 BMW iX3 Neue Klasse \(NA5\)
Photo: Baldauf
Series production for European markets will kick off in July 2025, making the second-gen iX3 a 2026 model. Other markets – including the United States – are said to follow suit in 2026 and even 2027. For the Old Continent, production will be handled by Plant Debrecen in Hungary. Come early 2026, the Hungarian facility will be joined by Plant Munich in Germany and BMW Brilliance Automotive's Shenyang facility in China. The San Luis Potosi production complex in Mexico gears up for the Neue Klasse as well. BMW says that San Luis Potosi will start making Neue Klasse vehicles sometime in 2027.

Expected to spawn M Performance and M versions, of which the hottest one may be dubbed ZA5, the iX3 will feature a full-width display at the base of the windshield. Previewed by the Vision Neue Klasse concept, said full-width display will be joined by a three-dimensional augmented reality head-up display. Prospective customers will be further treated to the Iconic Glow backlit grille.

Sources close to BMW understand that multifunction seats with massage function are in the offing as well, together with a plethora of M goodies and Level 3 semi-autonomous driving. Level 3 is the short way of saying conditional automation.

The fun stuff kicks off with Level 4 high automation, whereas Level 5 full automation doesn't require a steering wheel. Mercedes-Benz introduced the first Level 3 system for the US market in September 2023, which is branded DRIVE PILOT in all uppercase letters. The 7 Series also sports Level 3 autonomy, but only in Germany for the time being. Introduced last year, BMW Personal Pilot L3 carries a sticker price of 6,000 euros or 6,475 dollars at current exchange rates.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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