BMW’s first electric M high-performance car named – report

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BMW has previously said the next M3 will be electric – and now it seems we know what it will be called.

The name of the first electric car from the high-performance BMW M division appears to have been unearthed.

A trademark application discovered by CarBuzz suggests BMW is preparing to name its first electric M car the ‘iM3’ – amid reports the next-generation M3 will expand to pure battery power when it arrives in 2027.

In September 2023, BMW development boss Frank Weber announced the electric M3 would have four electric motors producing up to 1000kW, telling UK publication Autocar “the next M3 will be battery-electric – full battery-electric”.

In October, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel confirmed the four electric motors would be controlled by a central computer, nicknamed the “Hand of God” – also previously referred to as a “Heart of Joy”.

However, there will reportedly be some overlap between the launch of the iM3, and the end of production for the current petrol-powered M3 – with the car maker one of only a handful to refuse to commit to a solely electric-car line-up.

As previously reported by Drive, BMW is set to drop the ‘i’ from the end of its petrol-powered model names – to avoid confusion with its electric cars, which add the letter to the start of the badge.

It now appears that nomenclature will continue to its high-performance vehicles with the discovery of the ‘iM3’ trademark filing.

While BMW has put M badges on electric cars before – in the i4 M50 and iX M60 – these are mid-tier ‘M Performance’ vehicles in the same vein as the M135i, M340i and X3 M40i, rather than the full-strength M3, M4 or X3 M.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.

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