The next BMW to wear the M3 badge will be a fully electric model which will exist alongside the current ICE M3 rather than outright replace it.
According to BMW M development head Frank Weber, BMW will introduce an all-electric M3 at the tail-end of this decade and founded on BMW’s Neue Klasse platform. Additionally, BMW will employ its “Heart of Joy” integrated control unit. It is the sum of multiple decades of knowledge and experience in driving performance, chassis technology, and propulsion. The Heart of Joy, a successor to the “Hand of God” unit used in BMW’s hybrid i8 sports car, unifies BMW’s powertrain management software and chassis dynamics into a single system. In essence, it’s purposed to retain the core ideals of BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine philosophy in its all-electric offerings.
“For us it’s crucial that this is not just the best 0 to 60 you. You will get this anyways. It’s how the different components play together. When you approach a curve, how do we measure, for example, whether the BMW and our application is right? How many corrections are necessary when you actually take a turn? This is the total experience that the “Heart of Joy” will bring to our cars. It is that kind of total experience that makes the Ultimate Driving Machine and I can guarantee to you this is not easy to copy. It’s not easy to copy.” – Frank Weber
In practice, it allows for sub-one millisecond response times and the ability to control the propulsion and recuperation characteristics of each wheel. The Heart of Joy is capable of supporting quad motor drivetrains and can deliver up to one megawatt (equal to roughly 1 000 kW). In August 2022, BMW released a short cinematic video showcasing the features of the i4 M50, in which a one-off prototype performs centre-axis doughnuts.
“And the moment you get into a car that is one megawatt in performance and you can control every individual wheel, I can guarantee you there might be something wrong with the engine sound if they still miss this, but not in how the car behaves. It’s incredible.”