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Mystery electric coupe spied: BMW Neue Klasse sports car or something else?

An outlandish prototype of a compact electric coupe has been spotted with BMW-like design elements

Spy images have been captured of a rakish coupe prototype testing in Europe with more than a passing resemblance to BMW’s forthcoming Neue Klasse models. However, while BMW’s new generation of cars will spawn all sorts of exciting new derivatives, including high performance M models, BMW has confirmed to us that its focus right through to the end of the decade will remain on core segments rather than sports cars. It all poses the question: What exactly is this car?

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There is a definite correlation to BMW’s Neue Klasse models in the front end design, with two wide structures that look to incorporate the car’s lights and potentially any active safety hardware. Below this is a single air intake with two triangular structures on either side – again recalling the Neue Klasse saloon concept – but from here the correlation to BMW’s new design language starts to fade away. 

The body itself, for instance, features a cab-forward silhouette with a low-scuttle and deep windscreen. The window line then rises rapidly to create a distinctive wedge shape, with the rear end featuring what looks like a heavily glazed tailgate and side profile. There’s a Porsche 911 Targa-style hoop over the cabin, but there’s no indication of a folding roof mechanism. 

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At the rear is a segmented light bar with a heavily sculpted tailgate and some form of rear diffuser element, but once again there’s little evidence of BMW design signatures. Particularly notable by its absence is a chamfered section between the lighting units to frame the BMW roundel – a key feature for future models, according to BMW designers. 

Under the skin, the limited air intakes and a lack of any visible exhaust system suggest this prototype is all-electric, and behind the large wheels we can also see what appear to be hub-mounted electric motors, rather than traditional brake discs. The relatively short wheelbase also suggests it’ll hide a compact battery pack – potentially smaller than any units being designed for use in BMW’s forthcoming production electric cars.

All of this evidence makes it unlikely, but not impossible, that it’s a BMW. It’s also worth remembering that a range of Chinese manufacturers have opened remote engineering and design centres here in Western Europe, meaning prototypes from new and less familiar manufacturers are also becoming increasingly common sights. In any case, the mystery will probably cause plenty of arguments as to the prototype’s maker, but what do you think? 

What could this new mystery model be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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