BMW trademarks 'iM3' for first all-electric M car

29th November 2023
Ethan Jupp

Ever since BMW unveiled its Neue Klasse concept in September enthusiasts have been curious about what this means for the future of M. After all, the marque has made no mistake that the concept absolutely sets the design and technology tone for a revolutionary new electrification era.


It’s also been surprisingly open about the potential future of its high-performance brand but a trademark filing has at least told us how electric M cars will be named. As first reported by CarBuzz, the all-electric, all-new, the BMW iM3 is on the way, with four motors and revolutionary driving dynamics.

At the reveal of Neue Klasse BMW took a lot of time to discuss its revolutionary new ‘Heart of Joy’ drive system and vehicle dynamics controller. The idea is that for the Neue Klasse, this would fold the jobs previously handled by a number of separate ECUs into one unified, integrated unit.


Sounds like technical jargon, but this consolidated unit will allow extreme jumps in how power is distributed and how the chassis is controlled, improving responses and versatility. BMW claimed at the reveal of the Neue Klasse concept that on top of that the system would also yield range, efficiency and charging improvements of between 25 and 30 per cent.

The all-electric M3 is expected to arrive in dealers towards the end of the decade and it won’t wait for the petrol version to die out. Instead, there will be what BMW development boss Frank Weber calls a ‘necessary coexistence’ between the two for a while.

Rejoice, petrol-powered M lovers. The twin-turbo six-cylinder is set to live on into the next decade. But it will live alongside electric M cars with four motors and around 700PS (515kW), though BMW has made a point of highlighting that it's testing prototypes with as much as 1,300PS (956kW).

The iM3s – yes, it's expected there will be multiple versions, including a Touring – carry the codes ZA0 and ZA1, according to sources at BMW Blog.


A prototype all-electric M car has already been testing for well over a year, developing the quad-motor setup and ‘Heart of Joy’ drive system controller.

“Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create M-typical dynamics,” said Dirk Häcker, Head of Development at BMW M GmbH of the prototype.

“And we can already see that we can exploit this potential to the maximum so that our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the M-typical and incomparable combination of dynamics, agility and precision in the locally emission-free future.”

Are you looking forward to the iM3 and whatever the future holds for M? It’s easy to doom-monger when it comes to such seismic changes coming for the types of cars we love. But if there’s anyone we can trust to make performance cars of the future fun, it’s BMW M.

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