In 2023, we discussed BMW’s plans for their first-ever all-electric M3, codenamed ZA0. This electric M3 is progressing towards a production date of 2027-2028. While BMW has not officially confirmed the codename or the model name, they have mentioned an i4 prototype testing the Neue Klasse architecture and a quad-motor setup. Today, we learned (ynguldyn released similar info) that the plans continue to move forward and we will see not only the ZA0 i3M sedan, but also the ZA1 i3M Touring.

First Electric M3

Image by @fully_leaded

Numerous reports have emerged in the last few months regarding the power output, but it’s important to note that most, if not all, are highly speculative regarding the vehicle’s horsepowers. Frank Weber, BMW boss responsible for R&D, stated in the past that the Neue Klasse architecture could achieve a power limit of 1 Megawatt, which roughly translates to around 1,340 horsepower. However, this figure represents the upper limit of the new architecture and doesn’t necessarily indicate that an M3 will have over 1,000 horsepower, at least not initially. Our sources suggest a potential power output in the 700-800 horsepower range. We anticipate that BMW M will offer several variants of the M3 and M4 electric models with different power outputs, but none close to 1,340 horsepower.

Heart of Joy

The ZA0 BMW M3 is based on the Neue Klasse BMW i3 (NA0), set to launch in 2026, a year after the BMW iX3 (NA5). The M3 EV will feature all-wheel drive and will utilize BMW’s Heart of Joy system. In a conversation with Frank Weber, BMW Board Member for Development, we learned more about this innovative system, which promises to redefine the driving experience in all future BMW electric vehicles. The Heart of Joy marks a significant milestone for BMW, combining powertrain software and driving dynamics into a single, unified system.

There are no BMW i3M test mules on the road yet, but we anticipate the final design to be based on the i3 NA0, incorporating the distinctive M styling elements. Sources suggest a revolutionary design, significantly different from the current M3 models, as BMW aims to create more than just an electric version of the ICE M3. This new electric M3 is intended to attract a new demographic and customer base, with its futuristic and sporty design reflecting this shift.

BMW M and Neue Klasse

We recently talked to the BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel about Neue Klasse and electric Ms. When asked how involved BMW M is with the Neue Klasse series production, Van Meel cuts right to the chase. “Extremely involved,” he starts. “I need to be. It’s more than just batteries and electric motors. Now we’re talking about electronic architecture, software architecture, overall vehicle preparation.” A key focus is ensuring the vehicle is “precise” and has no torsional weakness. He also more or less confirmed that the M Neue Klasse models will feature four motors with one central software controller. The four motors are for more than just power; “It’s also for stability control, lateral control vectoring, even recuperation,” he said.

“If you buy a super sports car, there are two things that are important. First, the brand,” says Van Meel. He brings up the Rimac Nevera as an example. “The product is okay but the brand is unknown. And what you need is the right brand with the right product. And that combination is not there yet,” he says. Van Meel thinks that wealthy shoppers are just waiting for a convincing product. “Our future high-performance electric vehicles are gonna be very convincing,” he says.

[Image by @fully_leaded /]