Today might be all about the Vision Neue Klasse X previewing next year’s iX3 but we already know the crossover will be followed in 2026 by an i3 sedan. We spoke with Frank Weber, board member & VP of development at BMW, to learn some juicy details about an electric M3 coming later this decade. Carrying the “ZA0” internal codename, the sports sedan without a combustion engine will pack some serious punch.

Having seen prototypes of a modified i4 M50 with a quad-motor setup, we Frank Weber whether NK-based production models are going to adopt a similar layout:

“Yes, the future electric M3, for example. And with acceleration and recuperation functions on each wheel, for a total power of almost 1 megawatt (over 1,300 horsepower), you can imagine that it will be something very special to achieve but also to drive. Even I was surprised when I tested the prototypes.”

Don’t get too excited just yet because the electric M3 won’t actually have four-digit horsepower. Weber referred to the one-megawatt punch as a combined output the motors will be capable of but the whole shebang is unlikely to be unlocked for the M3 EV.

When it arrives around 2027, the hot electric sports sedan is expected to have somewhere in the region of 700 hp and go up from there. Much like today’s G80 has more potent versions with “Competition” and “CS” suffixes, BMW is working on amped-up electric M3s to release later in the ZA0’s life cycle. However, don’t expect 1,300 hp, not even for the range-topping version.

Frank Weber wishes to point out that removing the inline-six and replacing it with electric motors isn’t going to take away the heart and soul of the M3:

“Our engineers at the M division were apprehensive about this transition to e-mobility because, for example, they feared losing very important elements that define the authenticity of BMW M (the combustion engine and the transmission). But in the meantime, they realized that with these very precise and powerful controllers it is possible to raise the dynamic competence of our cars to an even higher level than with combustion engines.”

It’s unclear whether the initial electric M3 version will be rear-wheel drive or not. In an interview with Ars Technica last October, BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel said the M division is looking at twin-motor, rear-wheel drive and quad-motor, all-wheel drive configurations. Our bet is on seeing both variants: RWD and xDrive.

The arrival of an electric M3 might not spell the end of the gas model. Although the G80 is going to bid adieu in early 2027, it could get a direct ICE successor. Earlier this month, we reported about BMW potentially planning a G84 with an evolution of the familiar S58 engine. The twin-turbo, 3.0-liter mill is getting a new lease on life by receiving tweaks to meet increasingly stricter emissions regulations. This strategy should please both worlds since BMW is expected to have gas and electric M3 models on sale around 2027-2028.