The BMW M3 remains the M division’s most iconic model and according to brand boss Frank van Meel, the next-generation model could be “crazy.”
It is no secret that BMW M is venturing into the world of electrified powertrains and that inevitably, the M3 will also go down this route. While van Meel failed to specify what kind of powertrain the next-generation M3 will have during a recent interview with Autocar, he did hint at the lengths the company will go to in ensuring it is a proper M model.
“The story of the M3 is everlasting,” he said. “Every time we change the story of the engine, from four-cylinder to six-cylinder to eight-cylinder to six-cylinder and a turbocharger, the story continues. Maybe it will go electric – but if it does, it will always be an M3. Whatever the powertrain, you should always be able to drive our cars and know they are M cars. We have stood the test of time for 50 years and will continue to do so.”
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Van Meel added that he would “love to see electrified Ms in the future,” including both hybrids and pure-electric, “but if we bring them, they will be so groundbreaking that you will say: ‘This is crazy, I didn’t see that coming.’”
The challenge facing many enthusiast-oriented brands is convincing their customers that transitioning to EVs is the right move. However, according to van Meel, the vast majority of BMW M customers aren’t concerned about what direction the brand takes its powertrains.
“We’ve just been talking to customers and the feedback is that 90-95% don’t care what direction we take on powertrain,” he revealed. “They just want an M car. Yes, some say that if we don’t do V8s, they’re out but that’s okay: I respect that.”
We know that the next-generation 3-Series will be the first BMW underpinned by the Neue Klasse architecture. This platform has been designed to support front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive layouts, prompting speculation from Autocar that the future M3 could be sold in rear- and all-wheel drive configurations, just like the current car.