The future of the M3 and M4 seems very much up in the air as BMW continues expanding its electric vehicle lineup. Due out in 2027 or 2028, there is speculation that the performance vehicles could remain petrol-powered or become fully electric. 

As early as 2022, BMW's development manager, Frank Weber hinted that the next M3 could switch to electric power. However, in a recent interview with Drive, the M division's global boss, Frank van Meel, clarified the automaker's position. He indicated that EV-only versions of the M3 and M4 are a possibility, but only if they proved measurably better than the outgoing generation. 

Gallery: 2025 BMW M4 Coupe Spy Photos

According to van Meel, each subsequent generation of M vehicle has to exceed the performance of its predecessor. If BMW can accomplish its performance targets for the new M vehicles using an electric-only powertrain, then the next M3 and M4 will be electric. If not, the cars will stick with an internal combustion engine. "The logic is quite easy," he said. "But of course, we're trying to make that happen as pure electric."   

Asked about multiple powertrains options, van Meel was quick to dismiss any suggestion that BMW would offer both petrol-powered and electric versions with the possibility of a hybrid electric vehicle. He didn't think all three options were realistic and indicated that BMW would prefer to use just one powertrain.       

The current Competition xDrive versions of the BMW M3 and M4 use a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline-6 to produce 503 bhp. Performance figures include 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph. By comparison, the current BMW i4 completes a 0 to 60 mph run in 3.7 seconds with a top speed limited to 127 mph. In our review of the i4 M50, we thought it had a lot going for it. However, to take on the current M3 and M4, an electric successor would have to level up its game.    

BMW's lineup includes several vehicles offered with electric or combustion power, including the 4 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series. To distinguish the models, the automaker is reportedly dropping the "i" from the end of the names of petrol-powered vehicles and has trademarked 48 new names to revise their naming convention.