Ending rumors and speculations, BMW Head of Development Frank Weber confirmed in an interview in mid-September the next-generation M3 will be completely electric. It’s not coming anytime soon since the sports sedan without a combustion engine will be based on the Neue Klasse platform, and that won’t debut until 2025. Of course, a high-performance car won’t be available from day one, so look for a market launch around 2027.
Meanwhile, we might already know the name of the first dedicated M electric model. BMW has taken legal measures to trademark “iM3” with the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The luxury brand filed for the trademark with both EUIPO and DPMA on the same day – November 3. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be used on a car since the Munich-based automaker might only be interested in securing the rights to the name so that a rival brand won’t grab it first.
Based on what we know, the zero-emission M3 carries the “ZA0” internal codename and will have somewhere in the region of 700 horsepower. Yes, BMW M has said it already has the technology for a quad-motor electric performance model with well over 1,000 hp but we have it on good authority it won’t be this iM3 or whatever name it will carry. Sources close to Bavaria claim there will also be a more practical wagon codenamed “ZA1”, likely to arrive not long after the sedan.
There had been some speculation about BMW doing a final gas-powered M3 after the current G80 but that actually won’t be the case. It’s the same story with the next-generation X3 M and X4 M as the M SUVs will only exist in electric guise as the “ZA5” and “ZA7,” respectively.
We’ve heard through the grapevine there might not even be a standard X4 with combustion engines since the Sports Activity Coupe will reportedly be offered in its next iteration exclusively as an EV. The much larger X2 launched recently is expected to serve as a substitute for the conventionally powered X4.