Thin is in: BMW’s conceptual ‘Neue Klasse’ dash displays

BMW’s I Vision Dee styling — or, perhaps, minimalist unstyling — turned a lot of heads at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. There was much discussion about this “Neue Klasse” concept’s possibilities, due to reach buyers in only three years, and much to say about the car’s interior.

But not much to see.

In a keynote speech at the show, Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, showed an image, certainly one that qualifies as a teaser, that revealed a narrow, wide screen sitting at the base of the windshield. It shows a clock and a speedometer — all digital of course — and an apparent radio readout of “Take On Me” (A-Ha fans, take note). There’s a shadowy glimpse of a fat steering wheel in the foreground. There’s a head-up display in there as well, flashed onto the windshield glass.

According to a press release issued for CES, the information displayed on the new screen can be selected in stages by using a “mixed reality slider”: driving-related information; contents of the communications system; augmented-reality projection; and “entry into virtual worlds.” Dagobah, perhaps?

“It is more than a vision. We bring this innovation into the “Neue Klasse.” Neue Klasse is BMW’s name for a new range of vehicles designed to  “bring humans and machines closer together.” Anyway, Zipse continued, referring to the display, “As early as 2025 – the year after next – our customers will be able to experience this completely new technology in their vehicles.”

BMW’s boss said he was “absolutely convinced” that big center-console-based screens will disappear from cars. He believes that they are a distraction and that government regulations will eventually dictate changes in those technologies.

Production of the all-electric models will begin in Hungary and then Germany. BMW’s South Carolina factory will also make them by the end of the decade, the company has said. Six or more SUV models are planned for the new platform.

You can see some glimpses of the display in the Dee gallery of photos we posted earlier this week, a narrow band of data floating above a vast featureless expanse of dash:

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