BMW M boss rejects iM3 speculation: "No i in M"

Max McDee, 02 December 2023

In a recent interview with Top Gear, Frank van Meel, the head of BMW's M division, put to rest any hopes of an ">electric M3 with the "i" badge. While BMW had recently filed a trademark for the name "iM3," suggesting a blend of electric "i" technology and performance "M" prowess, van Meel firmly stated that such a combination would never happen. "No, that will be a Mission Impossible!" he declared. "Actually, we would never use an 'i' on an 'M,' even if it were electric."

Van Meel's explanation stems from the essence of what the "M" badge represents. It's not merely about technology; it's about a promise, motorsports, and, above all, emotion. It transcends drivetrains and remains synonymous with high-performance vehicles. So, while BMW already boasts four M-badged EVs - i5 M60, i4 M50, i7 M70 and iX M60 - and showcased a quad-motor performance prototype in 2022, don't expect to see an "iM3" anytime soon.

Artist's impression of what electric M3 could look like Artist's impression of what electric M3 could look like

The CEO of BMW's M division emphasized that the M3 has always been about the thrill of driving, regardless of the engine configuration. Over the years, it has sported four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and eight-cylinder engines, both naturally aspirated and turbocharged. The latest versions even feature xDrive, showcasing the evolution of the M3 without straying from its core identity.

"If we would ever do something like that," van Meel said, referring to an electric M3, "it will always be called an M without an 'i.' Because that's just the technology, and M is not about technology. It's about a promise, it's about motorsports, it's about emotion. It's not about the drivetrain."

While the idea of an electrified supercar isn't off the table for BMW's M division, van Meel remained cautious, mentioning that they were always dreaming about such a car but couldn't confirm any plans at the moment.



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