The current-generation BMW 3 Series (G20) has only been in production since late 2018 and has yet to receive the typical Life Cycle Impulse (LCI), but a new report is attempting to preview the next-gen car. While the upcoming revised model will spawn an electric version, it will ride on the same CLAR platform as the combustion-engined car. Thankfully, a 3 Series built on a dedicated electric platform is allegedly earmarked for a 2025 release.
According to Autocar, BMW will inaugurate the Neue Klasse architecture with a zero-emissions 3 Series know internally as the “NK1.” It won’t replace the ICE-powered model as the sports sedan will live to see a new generation with gasoline and diesel engines, allowing the Bavarian brand to cover all the bases in the same vein as Porsche will be doing with the gas and electric Macan.
Being developed from day one strictly as an EV, the 3 Series sans combustion engine will have a longer wheelbase and a flat floor, thus making the interior significantly more spacious compared to the traditional model. It’s being engineered with a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive configuration as well as a more potent dual-motor, xDrive model.
An “electric-centric design” is apparently planned, likely with much shorter front and rear overhangs to maximize the wheelbase and deliver improvements in terms of packaging you’d expect from a dedicated electric car. To minimize the weight penalty caused by the electric bits, BMW aims to make extensive use of aluminum combined with a carbon fiber “cage” body structure with CFRP in some areas.
Details regarding the interior are limited at this point, but the report goes on to say BMW is focusing on an eco-friendly cabin with recycled materials as previewed in the i Vision Circular concept exhibited at the IAA Munich show in September. Autocar only mentions a sedan, but it’s likely only a matter of time before the Touring will also be offered without combustion engines.
BMW is developing the electric motors in-house and these are said to be more powerful as well as more efficient than what current EVs are using. Fast-charging at up to 350 kilowatts is planned for what will be an evolution of current battery tech estimated to deliver a total range in excess of 435 miles (700 kilometers) in the electric 3er.
The company’s research and development chief Frank Weber has already hinted the Neue Klasse platform is being engineered for performances models, so an M-badged 3 Series EV seems likely.