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Rumor Mill: Will next-generation BMW M3/M4 really be a plug-in hybrid?

There are rumors circulating that BMW’s M Division is working on a hybrid powertrain for the next-gen BMW M3 and M4. When could we see it?

BMW introduced the i3 city car and i8 sports car and now it may be time for BMW M GmbH performance division to get into the hybrid picture. According to The Detroit Bureau the next-generation BMW M3 and M4 performance models will be making use of a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

There has been no official announcement made from BMW or their performance M Division so this is still speculation at this point. The Detroit Bureau says that because of stricter emissions legislation, this is the primary motivator for the move to hybrid propulsion in the new M3/M4. They say, “Several senior company officials” within the company have revealed it’s coming.

More torque from the hybrid powertrain

The DB report says BMW will use the current 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder engine and couple it with an electric motor. There will be increased performance and the new hybrid powertrain could produce an extra 100 Nm (73 lb-ft of torque) thanks to the electric motor(s) taking peak torque to 650Nm. The new power unit could also add an all-wheel drive system, with the 3.0-liter engine powering the rear wheels and the electric motor / motors sending power to the front wheels.

BMW will learn from i3/i8

The hybrid system will use the KERS-like recovery system and it will allow the new performance M3/M4 models to run on electrical power alone for up to 32 km (20 miles). BMW will use technology from the i3 and i8 and would likely use extensive use of carbon fiber to help offset the weight gain from the Lithium-ion batteries. The i3/i8 also use other weight-saving technologies like a carbon fiber tub, plastic body panels and extensive use of aluminum.

When will we see the next-generation BMW M3 and M4 hybrid performance cars? The current generation's replacement isn't expected to arrive until 2020 at the earliest. Performance fans still have a few years to get used to the M3/M4 getting hybrid power. Stay tuned.

Media source: The Detroit Bureau

Image source: BMW Media