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Friday, July 12, 2024

Electric M3 will “beat everything”


  • An electric BMW M3 is in the works
  • Some future electric M cars will be based on BMW’s Neue Klasse platform
  • BMW’s M boss, Frank van Meel, said the electric M3, presumed to be called i3 M, “will beat everything”

BMW is working on a new generation of electric vehicles, known as the Neue Klasse, and some of these will be the basis for the first dedicated M cars powered by batteries.

In an interview with Motor Trend published on Tuesday, the head of the M division, Frank van Meel, said the first electric M car will be based on a Neue Klasse compact sedan due in 2026 and likely forming part of an expanded 3-Series range. The sedan is rumored to revive the i3 badge, which BMW last used on an electric hatchback. The car was previewed by last year’s Vision Neue Klasse concept.

The M version, which may be called the i3 M, is expected to debut in 2026 or 2027, and according to van Meel, the car “will beat everything” we’ve previously seen. While it’s safe to assume the statement is loaded with hyperbole, it points to how seriously the M division, famous for delivering benchmarks in performance gas engines, is taking the EV revolution.

Development for the electric M car’s powertrain is far from its infancy. The M division as early as 2022 revealed a test mule mocked up to house a four-motor electric powertrain. According to Motor Trend, the starting point for the powertrain will be at least 1,000 kw, or approximately 1,341 hp. Such an output would ensure the car is quicker than any previous M car.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept

BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept

But a big power number won’t be the only star of the show. By using an individual motor for each wheel, the chassis control system will be able to precisely direct power where it’s needed to deliver new levels of handling. Instead of spending time on specialized features like a tank turn, van Meel told Motor Trend his team is working hard to ensure the chassis control system delivers “neutral, linear, and predictable” handling, even at the limit.

For M purists, rear-wheel-drive will still be available in future M EVs, van Meel assured in his interview.

The upcoming Neue Klasse EVs will also include a crossover in the same segment as the X3. It was previewed in March by the Neue Klasse X concept, and will likely replace the iX3 electric crossover currently sold overseas. It’s due as soon as next year, and there’s a good chance it will also have an M version at some point.



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