In July this year, BMW M boss Frank van Meel said the goal is to make the next-generation M3 fully electric but only if it can be better than the inline-six model available today. If not, it will retain ICE power for one final generation. Fast forward only a couple of months later, a final decision has been taken. Yes, the G80 successor will completely eschew the combustion engine to become a pure EV.
This isn’t some hot gossip originating from an enthusiast blog or forum but rather from a high-ranked BMW official. Speaking with Australian magazine Carsales in Portugal during the global launch of the i5, BMW Head of Development Frank Weber made the important disclosure: “The next M3 will be battery-electric, fully battery-electric.” He went on to mention the Neue Klasse platform is being developed for quad-motor applications and with the possibility to adjust the setup for a more rear-biased behavior.
As seen above, BMW teased a high-performance EV with four motors by releasing an image of a modified i4 M50 wearing an M-specific camouflage. That was in August 2022, and in January 2023, the M division said it would intensify testing of the prototype. Meanwhile, the very same Frank Weber told us the German luxury automaker already has the technology for a sporty electric car with one megawatt of power. That’s a mighty 1,341 hp!
During the same interview with Carsales, the CTO didn’t specify when the all-electric M3 will be launched but he hinted we won’t have to wait much longer following the introduction of the Neue Klasse-based sedan in 2025: “We want to come with something where we show Neue Klasse is already very ambitious. But this is doing something far above what people are used to today. This will come with M3 and will not be too far away from the initial launch of the Neue Klass as a product line.”
Reading between the lines, it could arrive as early as 2027 or 2028, but that’s merely a speculation on our part. That being said, we’re confident it’ll hit the market well before the end of the decade. When it does eventually go on sale, it might not supersede the gasoline-fueled M3 altogether, at least not right away. Frank Weber said the S58 engine will be tweaked to meet Euro 7 regulations, suggesting it will peacefully be offered alongside the electric model: “There will be co-existence of the solutions in the market, which is necessary.”
Inevitably, the ICE M3 will be retired, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. It seems the S58 still has a future as BMW isn’t ready to give up on the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter engine anytime soon.