Two platform configuration means the electric M3 will initially be offered alongside the next generation petrol derivative.
Ahead of its move towards complete electric motivation by 2030, BMW has confirmed that the next generation M3 will follow a similar route when it debuts in 2027.
Before jumping to conclusions…
Set to ride on the new Neue Klasse platform that debuted with the Vision Neue Klasse Concept at the Munich IAA earlier this month, the electric M3’s debut will come two years after the conventional 3 Series that will ride on two different platforms designed specifically for electric and combustion engine application.
In making the announcement though, Munich’s Head of Development Frank Weber said the electric M3 will initially run concurrently with the petrol version that will continue use the present day S58 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six past 2030.
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Describing the move as “necessary”, Weber told Britain’s Autocar on the sidelines of the Munich showpiece that the electric M3 will stay true to the M division’s heritage and continue to feel like a proper M-car despite the loss of the combustion engine.
“Everything that is driving-performance related, chassis-control related, propulsion- [and] powertrain-related is now in one integrated control unit,” Weber said of the electric M3’s control module dubbed Heart of Joy that debuted on the Neue Klasse.
“This is a controller that has taken the last 20 or 30 years of our experience into a control unit. It’s almost the history of how you control a vehicle that is in that thing. We do it ourselves – we don’t buy it.
“The software is proprietary. This is why we talk about it. We say, see, this will enable driving-dynamics functions that you will love. Some of you have an interest in ‘the ultimate driving machine’ – you will see functions in [the Heart of Joy] that are crazy,” he said.
Confirming the module has having the ability to support a quad-motor setup, Weber let slip that the configuration, at its peak, could produce as much as 1 000 kW, before declining to comment on the exact output BMW has earmarked for the M3.
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“We want to come with something where we show that Neue Klasse is already very ambitious, but this [performance model] is doing something far above what people are used to today,” Weber continued.
“This will come not too far away from the initial launch of the Neue Klasse as a product line, and we’ve said we want to have it early and close to the SOP [start of production] of the core model, because people want to have what M can do next also in the battery-electric world”.
Addressing criticism at the division’s towards electrification, Weber hit back by remarking that scepticism will fade with the unveiling of the first generation EV M products.
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“Some [customers] come to me and say ‘no, the M guys don’t want this’. I say no, be careful, because we do a lot of customer studies here. M customers want, simply, the best and highest performance you can get,” he continued.
“The moment you get into a car that is one megawatt in performance and you can control every individual wheel, I can guarantee you there might be something wrong with the engine sound if they still miss this, but not in how the car behaves. It’s incredible”.
Wait and see
Shrouded in secrecy for now, expectations are that more details will only become apparent once the wraps come off of the new dual-platform 3 Series two years from now.
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