BMW is working on the next-generation of M3 and it’s going to be electric. That isn’t anything new. However, despite the current M3 still being pretty new, the folks on Garching are already pretty far along in the development of the next M3’s powertrain. Some recent spy photos show off BMW’s next-gen M3 test mule rolling around with its quad-motor powertrain in the snow. (We don’t own the spy photos but you can see them here)
The spy photos show off the quad-motor test mule, which currently is just a heavily modified BMW i4. It clearly starts out as an i4 body but then gets an open grille from the M4 CSL (for cooling of the motors, perhaps?), flared fenders to accommodate the wider wheel track, a lowered suspension, and a cool M-styled camouflage livery.
As for that powertrain, there’s isn’t much we know about it except that it has four electric motors—one at each wheel—and that it could potentially have up to a megawatt of power (1,341 horsepower). BMW didn’t say whether that was the potential of the motors or what the car could actually have, as those are different things. The quad-motor setup could have a maximum potential of such power but be limited by the 800-volt battery architecture. Even still, it should make at least somewhere between 700-800 horsepower when it finally hits the road.
Don’t expect the BMW M3 to look like this, though. The next-gen M3 will be built on the upcoming Neue Klasse architecture, which will be an all-new, fully-electric architecture. With it will come a new design language as well, so don’t expect a mildly refreshed i4. In fact, it actually could end up looking something like the BMW Dee. That has been rumored to be the precursor of BMW’s next 3 Series concept, so the M3 could shades of Dee in its design.
There’s still a long ways to go before this powertrain is finalized, though, which is why it’s currently undergoing winter testing years before the car will debut. The next M3 won’t arrive until at least 2026, maybe even 2027. However, testing this powertrain in harsh conditions and continuing to develop it for many years is important. BMW M has said that it won’t develop an electric car until the technology is up to the brand’s standards of performance. To make sure it’s up to that standard, BMW is clearly taking its time with the tech.