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’s no secret that BMW M is venturing into the world of electrified powertrains, and that the M3 will inevitably follow that path as well. At the same time, during a recent interview, van Mill could not specify which transmission the next-generation M3 will have Coachhe hinted at the lengths the company will go to make sure it’s a proper M model.
“History of M3 forever,” he said. “Every time we change the engine story, from four-cylinder to six-cylinder to eight-cylinder to six-cylinder and turbocharger, the story continues. Maybe it will go electric, but if it does, it will always be an M3. Whatever the transmission, you should always be able to drive our cars and know that they are M cars. We have stood the test of time for 50 years and will continue to do so.”
Van Mill added that “I’d love to see electrified Ms in the future,” including both hybrid and pure electric, “but when we bring them, they’ll be so groundbreaking that you’ll say, ‘That’s crazy, I did “I don’t see it.”
The challenge for many enthusiast-oriented brands is to convince their customers that switching to electric vehicles is the right move. However, according to van Meel, the vast majority of BMW M customers are unconcerned about the direction the brand is taking its powertrains.
“We’ve just been talking to customers and the feedback is that 90-95% don’t care what direction we take in transmissions,” he said. “They just want an M car. Yes, some say if we don’t do a V8 they’ll pull out, but that’s fine: I respect that.”
We know that the next generation 3-Series will be the first BMW to be based on Neue Klasse architecture. This platform was designed to support front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts, prompting speculation from Coach that the future M3 could be sold in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, just like the current car.