Report: Next-gen BMW M3 Will Be All-Wheel Drive Plug-in Hybrid

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
report next gen bmw m3 will be all wheel drive plug in hybrid

TheDetroitBureau’s Paul Eisenstein has a fine piece of reporting that the next-generation of BMW’s iconic M3 will have a hybrid, plug-in powertrain — a first for the performance sub-brand. Eisenstein says internal sources provided the information.

According to the report, the rear wheels would be driven by the gasoline engine, which could be the M3’s current boosted six — or even perhaps an ultra-potent four. Up front, one or two electric motors could power the forward wheels. Eisenstein’s story points out that by using tandem electric motors, the M3 would have baked-in torque vectoring that engineers could exploit for handling performance.

If the report is true, that E36 M3 you passed up on Craigslist eight years ago will soon be worth eleventy billion dollars.A plug-in hybrid M3 would be a seismic shift for the German automaker.

Already, supercar makers such as McLaren and Ferrari have used similar technology for cars that cost more than $1 million, and BMW’s system could use a kinetic energy recovery system, although it’s unclear in the report how it would be used.

Porsche’s Panamera S E-Hybrid already uses a plug-in hybrid powertrain, although that car is in a much different segment than the M3.

The report says engineers initially balked at the additional weight a plug-in powertrain would add, but lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum found in the i8 could help offset those losses.

A plug-in hybrid could also make the future for BMW’s sub-brand “i” less clear. A few days ago, BMW CEO Harald Kruger said the “i” brand could have more cars in its lineup, but it’s clear that some of the technologies such as electrification and lightweight materials appear to be bleeding into the mainstream lineup.

And a plug-in hybrid system seriously casts a shadow of the future of manuals for BMW’s M division.

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  • Fli317 Fli317 on Aug 17, 2015

    Its all down hill from here. BMW is loosing it. Might as well buy a good used manual trans BMW and keep it running as long as you can. Just forget about buying a new BMW. Hey, maybe BMW can make a prius with a weenie "shifter" like the Dodge Ram Rebel.

  • Tylanner Tylanner on Aug 17, 2015

    I realize that you are just going to have to trust me on this one...but I think a few hard pulls in an i8 will quickly change your mind. If you know how to start a vacuum cleaner than you can go from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. Yes, the noise is haunting, the slingshot forces are unnerving; this all leading to a wholly unnatural experience. But denigrating a new and truly awesome concept isn't needed. There will always be a piston option from somewhere. And for those touting reliability concerns...the reliability of current motors when the environmental conditions can be tightly controlled is pretty impressive. Yes, there will be expensive black boxes that BMW will stuff with indirect R&D overhead but I expect that to be the exception rather than the rule.

    • See 1 previous
    • Fli317 Fli317 on Aug 17, 2015

      You said it, "start a vacuum cleaner." Its all about becoming an appliance. Driving enjoyment is not all about speed. 4.5 seconds sounds good, but it's completely devoid of character. That's where BMW is going off the rails. They are supposed to produce "the ultimate driving machine," and they are gradually producing more and more vehicles that are not really enjoyable to "drive." Automatic start, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, launch control, perfect shifts down to a tenth of a second, and now, in the planned BMW prius, perfectly applied acceleration every single time without shifting. Why drive at all? You'll just screw it all up while you are trying to "enjoy the drive." Let the computer whisk you off in 4.5 seconds, perfectly, every single time! Enjoy your speedy BMW i8 prius! I'll keep driving my manual trans!

  • ToolGuy Here's the part I'm struggling with: Who knowingly runs a vehicle until the brakes are metal to metal? (It's in the listing.) Did we ignore the wear indicators squealing all this time? (Internet says this vehicle has them.)I did that once with my first car, and I still feel bad about it.
  • TDIGuy I'm boring, but VW Passat Estate, Diesel with manual transmission.
  • John On my 6th Saab now....always looking for another
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Thunderbird Production Numbers:1971 - 36,0551972 - 57,8141973 - 87,2691974 - 58,4431975 - 42,6851976 - 52,9351977 - 318,1401978 - 352,7511979 - 284,141 1980 - 156,803 1981 - 86,693 1982 - 45,142 1983 - 121,999 1984 - 170,533 1985 - 151,852 1986 - 163,965 Looks like the T'Birds on the Torino frame sold like gang busters ('77 thru '79).
  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.