• The Next-Gen BMW M3 Will Probably Be Electric

A lot can change in six years, and that will probably make an electric M3 easily possible

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The current BMW M3 (and M4, for that matter) are so new that the welds on the have yet to cool, so why would I even consider talking about the next-gen model already? Because time tends to fly, and the next-gen M3 will actually be here before we know it. Add to this the fact that automotive technology is advancing incredibly fast, and it’s hard not to think about how different the next-gen M3 might actually be. Will BMW follow the hybridization route or will it go one step further and make the BMW M3 (And M4) full-on electric vehicles? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’ll be the latter, and my reasoning behind this is rooted deeply in logic.

An Average Six Year Lifespan

The Next-Gen BMW M3 Will Probably Be Electric Exterior
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Before I dive into the basis of my argument that the next-gen M3 will go electric, let me just remind you that the M3 has a typical life span of about six years, with the exception of the first-gen E30 model and the last-gen F80, the latter of which was discontinued in 2018 after just four years while we waited another 2 for the current G80 2021 M3 to come to life. The E36, E46, and E90/E92/E93 all ran for precisely six years.

BMW M3 Production History
Years Produced Total Sales
E30 Generation 1986-1991 17,970
E36 Generation 1992-1999 71,242
E46 Generation 2000-2006 85,766
E90/E92/E93 Generation 2007-2013 65,985
F80 Generation 2014-2018 34,677
G80 Generation 2020 - Present

With this in mind, logic dictates that BMW will probably present the next-gen – aka the seventh-gen M3 – sometime in 2025 or 2026 with sales to commence sometime shortly after. That means in just 4 year’s time we’ll start hearing rumors and, hopefully, some official word of what direction BMW will take. We say it’ll take the electric route, and now I’ll tell you why.

The Next-Gen M3 Could Be Hybrid But Probably Not

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We know that rival Mercedes is aiming to and already starting to downsize its engine lineup, something made possible by its huge advances in extracting tons of power from four-cylinder engines (see the AMG A45, for example). Going a step further, the company has learned that by adding in hybridization, it can give the same gut-churning performance to even larger models while still keeping those little four-bangers in play. This helps keep emissions low and, thanks to the nature of electric motors, it helps performance too. A prime example of this art is the new Mercedes-AMG C63, which we recently learned will only be offered as a four-cylinder hybrid. Mercedes even explained why it works back in March of 2021.

The Next-Gen BMW M3 Will Probably Be Electric Exterior Wallpaper quality
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So, why wouldn’t BMW do the same? Well, BMW still has anywhere between 4 and 5 years to make the next-gen BMW M3 even better.

Going the hybrid route might offer up more power, better performance, and a weight increase that is negligible and\or manageable. But, it could also open the door for BMW to be outdone by, say, Audi, Mercedes, or even some Japanese brands I’ll spare you the pain of mentioning for now. Outdone how? Well, what about adding more of that good electric juice and ditching gasoline altogether?

In 5 Years, Batteries Could Be Lighter, Charge Faster, and Offer More Range

The Next-Gen BMW M3 Will Probably Be Electric Exterior
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Naturally, BMW can’t just go the EV route right now– that’s why the M3 and M4 are still sucking down that good oil-derived earth blood. Batteries are too heavy and keeping weight in check would be a nearly impossible, let alone driving dynamics and pricing. In a few years, though, new advancements could make batteries lighter to carry around, cheaper to produce, denser in energy reserves, and faster to charge. And, at that point, an electric M3 would be track-worthy too. Brands like Tesla, Lucid, and even Mercedes are able to offer 200 kW charging that can give you hundreds of miles of range in less time than it takes your tires to cool down. Factor in decreased battery weight (will we have solid-state batteries by then?) and cost, and the case for an electric M3 is pretty easy to make.

Taking the M3 and M4 Electric Won’t Be An Easy Transition

The Next-Gen BMW M3 Will Probably Be Electric Exterior Wallpaper quality
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You can bet that BMW will find a way to move the M3 and M4 into EV territory. If it doesn’t do in mid-way through this decade, the following generation will undoubtedly be electric. That’s a discussion or another time, though. The real issue with transitioning the M3 and M4 into EV territory is the fallout from purists, fanboys, and keyboard warriors, the latter of which have probably never sat in a BMW, but I digress. Much like the bog-grille criticism, the hatred and drama will die off, but expect the M3 EV and M4 EV to have its fair share of drama until people actually get their hands on one. Where do you sit on the idea of an electric M3 or M4? Let me know in the comments section below.

2021 BMW M3 specifications
2021 BMW M3 2021 BMW M3 Competition
Engine twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six
Horsepower 473 @ 6,250 503 @ 6,250
Torque 406 @ 2,650 – 6,130 479 @ 2,750 – 5,500
0-60 mph 4.1 seconds 3.8
Top Speed 155 mph 155 mph
Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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