The BMW M3 sports sedan, the German automaker’s most iconic high-performance vehicle, is going electric. During a roundtable interview in Portugal this week, BMW’s product development chief, Frank Weber, confirmed the rumors.
After rumors have been spreading about an electric M3 for months, the speculation is turning out to be true.
Weber told auto reporters at the global launch of the BMW i5 that the first electric BMW M3 would arrive around 2027, according to Carsales.com.au. The high-performance EV is expected to ride on BMW’s next-gen Neue Klasse platform.
BMW revealed its “Vision Neue Klasse” earlier this month, giving us a glimpse into its high-tech, efficient future. The term is in reference to BMW’s small, sporty cars of the 1960s that helped shape the brand.
Weber confirmed that the Neue Klasse architecture “was designed for four independently operating electric machines [motors] up to one megawatt.”
The comments echo remarks made by BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel. During his visit to Australia, the performance brand leader highlighted the potential of a megawatt (1,000 kW) sports sedan based on the next-gen platform. A megawatt would translate to roughly 1,340 horsepower.
BMW to launch its first electric M3 sports sedan
According to Weber, “you can go crazy” with the new EV platform. He explained, “And then you have some settings where you can go deeper into something that is more and more rear-wheel drive biassed with the control possibilities that you have with electric machines.”
Earlier this year, BMW revealed its fastest, most powerful EV model in the i7 M70 xDrive electric sedan with up to 660 hp.
BMW has also teased a quad-motor i4 electric model. The i4 M50 is currently BMW’s top-selling M model, starting at $69,700 with a dual electric 536 hp drive system.
However, the performance brand looks to top it with its first electric BMW M3 model. “We want to come with something where we show Neue Klasse is already very ambitious,” Weber explained.
“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.”
Due out in 2025, the Neue Klasse platform will feature “30% more range, 20% faster charging, and a 25% overall improvement in vehicle efficiency.”
With M customers simply wanting “the highest and best performance,” according to Weber, an EV with almost one megawatt in performance will change your perspective:
I can guarantee to you there might be something wrong with the engine sound if they still miss this, but definitely not how the car behaves. It’s incredible.
BMW plans to launch the electric M3 shortly after the start of production of the Neue Klasse as “people want to have what M can do best also in the battery-electric world.”
Despite the enthusiasm around its first electric M3, BMW plans to keep the gas-powered version around a while longer.
Author: Peter Johnson