If yesterday we talked about BMW having opened the door to an electric BMW M3 in the next generation of the model, although it did not confirm it, today we have a new chapter in that same story. And it is that the Bavarian firm has officially shown, for the first time, a “test prototype” of the future, less and less hypothetical, electric BMW M3. And it promises unparalleled performance in a BMW M model.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW M GmbH and from the brand they are paying a good tribute in the form of new releases. In addition to several models with a gasoline engine, such as the BMW M4 CSL, the firm has also launched several electric novelties such as the i4 M50 and the iX M60. Two models that will be followed by the BMW i7 M70 next year.
In the brand’s transition process towards electric mobility, in which it intends for 50% of all its cars to be electric by 2030, its sportier models will be a fundamental part. Not surprisingly, the M models have always been the spearhead in terms of performance and dynamics, the best BMW know-how to the delight of drivers. The next BMW M3 will be electrified, probably completely, something that will not reduce performance – on the contrary – nor will it reduce its driving dynamics, according to company directors. And the prototype that they have presented now is the first proof of this.
Judging by the images, this prototype looks like a somewhat shorter and wider BMW M4. It really takes the base of an i4, but has wider wheel arches to be able to integrate the specific axles of this model. In a kind of game of confusion, the aggressive front of the M4 CSLwith the ‘M4 CSL’ badge included in the left kidney (the right one in the image), with the same arrangement of the radiators as in the current models, and with a more aggressive double kidney with a larger air intake.
BMW says that this car is designed to “test hardware and software solutions designed for future all-electric performance cars”. BMW doesn’t talk about an electric M3 or M4 explicitly, but somehow just confirmed them.
This prototype is based on the BMW i4 M50but in this case it has neither more nor less than four electric motors, one per wheel, which gives it all-wheel drive M xDrive. BMW has not announced the maximum power, although with four engines it is not unreasonable to think of at least 800 horsepower. However, apart from the massive power, one of the biggest advantages of having four motors is power. control with surgical precision the distribution of torque on each wheel.
Having an electric motor for each wheel opens the possibility of having an infinitely variable torque distribution, much more precise and with a very fast response. Power and torque from electric motors can be delivered to one or the other wheel in a matter of milliseconds, responding to the demands of the accelerator pedal with a speed and precision unattainable with conventional powertrains, even for ones as sophisticated as BMW M. “Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create typical M dynamics,” says Dirk Häcker, Head of Development at BMW M GmbH. The goal, says the brand, is to “redefine the combination of dynamics, agility and precision” that characterizes BMW M cars with an “unprecedented” level of performance and driving experience.
All four motors are connected to a central control unit that constantly monitors driving conditions and the wishes of the driver. How much power is sent to the road is calculated in milliseconds from values for accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and wheel speed, among other parameters. This system enables higher cornering speeds to be achieved and, on wet or snowy roads, torque is applied in such a way that there is no unwanted understeer or oversteer.
After several months of testing on virtual models and test benches, BMW has started testing the car on real roads. When it will hit the market is still a mystery, at least not officially. The next generation of the BMW 3 Series will be presented in 2025 with the Neue Klasse, so the sportier version, the hypothetical electric BMW M3 could arrive shortly after, in the same 2025 or in 2026.