Next BMW M3 to keep petrol alive alongside electric power, report claims

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It was previously expected the new BMW M3 and M4 would go electric-only – but a new report has claimed the sedan will keep twin-turbo six-cylinder power alive as an option.

The next-generation BMW M4 will reportedly drop its petrol engine in favour of battery power – but buyers of the BMW M3 sedan may still have the choice of petrol power after all, a new report claims.

BMW research and development head Frank Weber told European media late last year “the next M3 will be battery-electric – full battery-electric” with four electric motors and up to 1000kW.

However it appears BMW may have back-tracked on its decision – as an unconfirmed report from BMWBlog claims the new BMW M3 may continue to be sold with a petrol engine, alongside the first-ever electric M3.

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Citing unnamed sources from inside BMW, the website claims both electric and petrol M3 models are under development.

Meanwhile the next generations of the M4 coupe and convertible will be powered by electric motors only, the publication reports.

Mr Weber said in September 2023 “there will be coexistence” between petrol and electric M3 variants “which is necessary”, but it was implied this would be between the current petrol M3, and new electric version.

The 3.0-litre twin-turbo ‘S58’ six-cylinder engine found in the current model will reportedly be upgraded to meet stringent new Euro 7 emissions rules in Europe.

The emergence of a new-generation petrol-powered M3 suggests – by BMW M boss Frank van Meel’s own admission – the new-generation electric performance car may not be as good as the current petrol-powered model.

“Well, the logic is quite easy. The next [M3] or [M4] has to be better than the current one. And if that can be done in an electric way, then probably it will go electric,” Mr van Meel said in mid 2023.

“If not, we will stay with [a] combustion engine. It’s quite easy. But of course we’re trying to make that happen as pure electric.”

At the time, Mr van Meel was asked if a range of petrol, electric and plug-in hybrid power options could be offered in the M3 range.

“Well, I don’t think all three [options]. That will be a little bit too far,” he responded.

“Actually, we would like to offer just one. But you never know.”

The latest report suggests BMW has changed course to continue offering a petrol version within the line-up of the new-generation M3.

The petrol M3 will reportedly be based on the company’s CLAR platform – which can accommodate petrol/diesel engines, plug-in hybrid, or electric powertrains in either rear- or all-wheel drive – while the electric version is expected to be underpinned by the electric-only ‘Neue Klasse’ platform.

According to the BimmerPost forum user known only as ‘ynguldyn’ – a reputable leaker of future BMW model plans – the electric M3 sedan will also be offered alongside an electric M3 wagon on the Neue Klasse platform.

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

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