Attention all BMW purists; you may want to click the back button, as this report is likely to send you into a full-on rage. According to the Detroit Bureau, BMW executives have revealed that the brand plans to turn the next-generation M3 into a plug-in hybrid.
Though the executives in question remained anonymous, the fact that the publication got the news straight from a company officials adds some validity to the report.
So, what will this electrified M3 have in store for us? According to the report, the new M3 will carry on with a gasoline-fueled powertrain similar to the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine in the current fast 3er. The big change will be a KERS system – like that in the Ferrari LaFerrari — that will toss an extra 100 nm (73 pound-feet) of torque into the mix. The executive didn’t get into how many extra ponies this will result in.
Another added benefit to having a plug-in hybrid system is its ability to travel short distances on electricity alone. In the case of the M3 plug-in hybrid, initial estimates put it at around 20 miles of EV range. This will be plenty to overcome most emission-free zones that are already present in Europe and a near certainty here in the States.
One huge downfall to hybrids is the extra heft that the batteries and electric motors add. According to the report, BMW will overcome this the same way it has with its i sub-brand, with loads of carbon fiber. What’s more, by the time the new M3 is ready to launch, the size and weight of batteries and electric motors will less of an issue.
Speaking of the timeframe, the source wouldn’t spill the beans, but we are likely looking at a 2020 release.
The source also indicated that versions of this drivetrain will likely spread across Bimmer’s lineup. It could even spawn a through-the-road electric all-wheel-drive system. With that said, don’t look for the upcoming plug-in M3 to have all-wheel drive, as the source claims it will remain rear-wheel drive.
We’ll bring you more details as they become available.