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It definitely looks like hybrid power is going to become part and parcel of the performance game for most automakers going forward. As we reported earlier, Mercedes, Renault and Volvo have already stated their intentions to incorporate the hybrid element into their high-performance models as more stringent EU emissions regulations come into play by 2020.

Now it seems BMW is jumping onto the hybrid bandwagon for the next-generation BMW M3. According to TheDetroitBureau, several senior company officials revealed to the publication that the next-generation M3 sedan will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain, that will also give its full EV mode up to 30 km per charge.

The purists would definitely be aghast and holding their heads in their hands and screaming bloody murder at the sound of this whole concept. It’s a brave new world, and unfortunately, going electric is just fast becoming the norm, and unless something really drastic happens otherwise, this is just how its going to be.

According to the publication, the new powertrain will draw from lessons learnt from BMW’s motorsport experience as well as the intricate inner workings of the BMW i battery-car sub-brand ; thereby unleashing a range of BMW models which could be offered in both rear- and electric all-wheel drive configurations.

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A senior BMW executive told the publication that the system under development is similar to the KERS, or Kinetic Energy Recovery System, that is prevalent in Formula One.

It is understood that the new drivetrain will have an inherently flexible system, that is being coined as “through-the-road all-wheel drive”. Apparently, while the conventional internal combustion engine would power the rear wheels, the front wheels could be electrically driven. Perhaps one or two electric motors could be utilised towards torque vectoring, with more power being applied to the outer wheel in a turn to induce cornering stability.

The publication states that BMW company executives were extremely concerned with the added weight that a plug-in hybrid system would entail; but apparently a BMW insider is quoted that extensive use of lighter materials such as carbon fibre will be a cornerstone of the next-generation M3.

Senior BMW executives also told the publication that the latest hybrid systems are featuring batteries that are becoming lighter, smaller and more powerful too. “We have to go that way,” confirmed Ludwig Willisch, the CEO of BMW of North America, when speaking to TheDetroitBureau. When asked about the possible launch date of the hybrid BMW M3, Willisch said, “I can’t tell you everything.” The publication does believe that a hybrid-powered M3 could be a reality by 2020.