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Will the Next BMW M3 Be a Plug-in Hybrid?

New report suggests hybrid power for next sports sedan.

Brace yourselves, BMW M purists: The next iteration of the BMW M3 could use a plug-in hybrid powertrain. That's according to a new report from The Detroit Bureau, based on conversations with BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch and other BMW executives.

According to the new report, the next BMW M3 will use a traditional 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine, albeit with more power than that engine makes in today's M3/M4. That engine will send power to the rear wheels, but one or two electric motors will propel the front wheels. That means the car would have electrically driven all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, and also a short all-electric drive capability -- about 20 miles on battery power, according to The Detroit Bureau.

"We have to go that way," Willisch told The Detroit Bureau of moving to hybrid power.

But this news conflicts with what AUTOMOBILE European bureau chief Georg Kacher reported earlier on the 2018 BMW 3 Series. Kacher reported that the next BMW M3 will use water injection and electric turbocharging to improve power and torque over today's model.

The next-gen BMW 3 Series (seen here in our renderings) will have significant updates from top to bottom. Code-named G20 and based on a new platform called CLAR, the new 3 Series will reportedly have a long wheelbase, a lower center of gravity, adjustable anti-roll bars, reduced wheel-bearing friction, and use of carbon fiber and aluminum to shave weight.

The current BMW M3/M4 have only been out for two years, so it's still very early to predict the future of the performance models. Don't expect to see the new M3 until at least 2020.