Seems about as official as it can get without having the car in front of us, but the next BMW M3 is going electric. In June, BMW boss Frank van Meel told Australian outlet Drive, “Of course, we’re trying to make [the next M3] happen as pure electric.” In August, that same van Meel talked around the idea of a battery-electric M3 to Australian outlet CarSales, saying, “If we could do an M model as a purely electric one it’s clear that it has to be better than the current one and it should drive like an M so… I would say there’s no need to be afraid of the future even if we would have an electrified drivetrain.” One month later, the same outlet reports BMW production honcho Frank Weber told it, flat-out, ““…the next M3 will be battery-electric, fully battery-electric.”
The saving grace for many enthusiasts is that the internal combustion M3 will be sold alongside it. CarSales quoted Weber as also saying the S58 3.0-liter straight-six in the current M3 will be updated to pass future emissions standards. “It’s a nice engine, we will certainly make this Euro 7-capable and other things, so it’s going to happen,” he said. “We will not have two different classes — there will be co-existence of the [ICE and EV] solutions in the market, which is necessary.”
So what should we expect? It’s impossible to know for sure, but the ceiling is high. Last year, BMW revealed it’s testing a quad-motor powertrain (pictured) making a combined megawatt of output, translating to 1,341 American horsepower. Talking about that prototype to CarSales last year, Weber said, “This [the M3] can also be the dual-motor architecture and this can be four-motor architecture with four 250kW motors for up to one megawatt.” The Neue Klasse platform that such an M3 would be built on has been designed with front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive models in mind, and is ready to accept four motors making that max output. Furthermore, the Neue Klasse’s new Heart of Joy electronics architecture not only runs all software and sensor-based elements from a single ECU, Weber told the Straits Times the ECU will contain “all the powertrain and dynamic data we have collated over the last 20 years… You cannot buy anything like it off the shelf.” This supposedly encyclopedic ECU could contain an incredible breadth of dynamic responses, and thanks to the single ECU and wheel-specific motors, those responses could be translated into real-life handling up to ten times faster than the current system of multiple ECUs communicating with one another.
A more authentic soundtrack is coming, too — something less synth-heavy than the Hans Zimmer-sourced soundtracks BMW’s applied to its current electric lineup.
To be clear, we don’t expect an electric M3 with even 1,000 horsepower. But Weber and van Meel have repeatedly spoken of the desire to surprise everyone with Neue Klasse products, the latter exec hoping, “they will be so groundbreaking that you will say: ‘This is crazy, I didn’t see that coming.'” The first offerings will be the next-gen iX3 crossover and i3 sedan meant to debut in 2025. The M3 is anticipated to debut not long after 3 Series production starts, and hit the market around 2027. BMW Blog cites its sources for a predicted output of around 700 horsepower in the M3 EV.