BMW hints at all-electric M3, says no one cares if there’s no engine

It’s not hard to imagine the internet’s reaction to the idea of a fully-electric M3, but the top brasses at BMW seem to be confident that whatever the controversy the next-generation M3 creates, it will be a positive one. “Maybe [the BMW M3] will go electric – but if it does, it will always be an M3,” BMW M CEO Frank van Meel told Autocar in a recent interview.

With the current rate of electrification at BMW, it is no surprise that the next-generation BMW M3 will most likely be electrified, although, whether partially (hybrid) or fully electrified (BEV) is not yet confirmed. It’s not hard to guess, however – provided the BMW 3 Series will spearhead BMW’s Neue Klasse on a new platform, the next-generation M3 will likely be built on the same architecture.

Now, before you start picketing in front of the BMW M Division’s office, we implore you to give the BMW M Boss a chance to explain. He says, “The story of the M3 is everlasting. Every time we change the story of the engine, from four-cylinder to six-cylinder to eight-cylinder to six-cylinder and a turbocharger, the story continues.”

“Maybe it will go electric – but if it does, it will always be an M3. Whatever the powertrain, you should always be able to drive our cars and know they are M cars. We have stood the test of time for 50 years and will continue to do so.”

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And the man is right. The BMW M3 has gone through radical powertrain changes from one generation to the other, and yet sales have continued to increase with every new generation. So, it is not as if the type of powerplant actually matters, so long as it delivers the goods.

Interestingly, he also says, “I would love to see electrified Ms in the future – hybrid and pure-electric, but if we bring them, they will be so ground-breaking that you will say: ‘This is crazy, I didn’t see that coming.’”

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Frank Van Meel’s comments suggest BMW bosses are not concerned about the appeal of its high-performance products waning as they go electric. Neither, it seems, are its customers.

“We’ve just been talking to customers and the feedback is that 90-95% don’t care what direction we take on the powertrain. They just want an M car. Yes, some say that if we don’t do V8s, they’re out but that’s okay: I respect that,” said van Meel.

Currently, the only all-electric version of the G20 BMW 3 Series can be found in China in the guise of the BMW i3 eDrive35L. It is exclusive to China and features a longer wheelbase compared to the G20 BMW 3 Series. A global electric version of the BMW 3 Series is set to debut in 2025.

RELATED: Not ready to go full electric, next-gen BMW 3 Series could use different platforms for EV and petrol variants


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