BMW will produce both a electric and ICE power M3s for the car’s next generation 2027. That appears to be what executives are foreshadowing in several recent comments. That would allow BMW to appeal to classic BMW M3 fans while ushering in an entirely new era with a Neue Kasse based electric M3.

It started with BMW M boss Frank van Meel’s comment that we could see co-existence of two different drivetrains in the next generation M3; “Actually, we would like to offer just one [ICE or EV]. But you never know.” Interestingly he had also made an earlier comment that an electric M3 would only happen if BMW was 100% sure it would be a step forward from its gasoline-powered counterpart.

electric BMW M3

Now BMW product development chief Frank Weber has suggested that a combustion-powered BMW M3 may be released alongside an all electric M3. Weber went even further and confirmed that the new EV M3 will get the quad-motor engine that BMW has been testing for several years now. That development car is capable of 1,300 horsepower driven through all four wheels. While we don’t expect the typical M3 to see that much power, there’s clearly enormous potential in that drivetrain and using ultra sophisticated four wheel drive.

“The next M3 will be battery electric, fully battery electric. And, the Heart of Joy (the new NK based M3) was designed for four independently operating electric machines up to 1 megawatt (1,341 hp).”

Frank Weber, BMW Product Development Chief

Despite this Weber followed Van Meel’s lead and made a clear reference to the current M3 engine (the S58) living on calling it a nice engine that BMW “will certainly make this Euro 7-capable and other things, so it’s going to happen.” 

electric BMW M3 s58
The S58 inline six will likely carry on into the next generation of the M3 and M4

He also made clear that BMW is continuing down the path of giving consumers choice; there will be co-existence of the solutions in the market, which is necessary.”

How does BMW intend to do this with the Neue Klasse p[altform being the focal point for all development? If we had to guess we think BMW will evolve the current CLAR platform and series of engines to limit investment required to bring two new 3 series families to market simultaneously – much like the current MINI family.

electric BMW M3

How To Add Excitement To An Electric BMW M3

The major issue that many enthusiasts have with EV’s isn’t performance but the lack of visceral experience they deliver. Answering that critique, the Albert Biermann led Hyundai N Division has developed a simulated 8 speed dual clutch for its new Ioniq 5 N hoping to bring connectivity into the experience. 

“One of the solutions might be to simulate gears or to have another acoustic feedback or even vibrations as a feedback. And those are things we’re looking into.”

Frank van Meel, Head of BMW M

When asked by Australia’s Which Car magazine about that concept van Meel said; “I like the way they think. If you need eight gears, I’m not sure. But it’s one solution because what’s really clear is that if you drive on the track, and we always come from racing with M, there’s no time to look at the speedometer to see how fast you are going.

“So what you do is: you know the gear you’re in and you hear and feel the engine, and from the corner of your eye you can see the shifting lights if you’re approaching maximum revs. So actually, you always know I’m ‘in third gear.’ There’s no need to look down into the speedometer and if you look down two cars pass by you.

electric BMW M2 electric BMW M3

What This Means for the Next M2?

We have nothing but informed deductions here but it would make a lot of sense for BMW to amortize any investment in a revised CLAAR and S58 across more models. So beyond the M3 and M4 we could imagine this strategy spreading to the M2 and perhaps even the X3M which each cars being sold alongside electric equivalents. Watch this space.