Current BMW 3 Series may be the last with petrol power – report


One of BMW’s most – if not the most – iconic models is set to ditch petrol engines entirely within five years, as part of a new wave of ‘Neue Klasse’ battery-electric cars.

Alex Misoyannis

Today’s BMW 3 Series sedan and Touring may be the last to ever offer petrol power, according to a new report – with their successors due as soon as 2025 to exclusively use electric power.

BimmerPost forum member and reputable BMW insider (with a solid track record) ‘ynguldyn’ claims production of the current 3 Series sedan and wagon will cease in 2027, when they will be replaced by a new i3 sedan and wagon on BMW’s new ‘Neue Klasse’ electric platform.

Named after the models that saved the company from bankruptcy in the 1950s, the Neue Klasse architecture is focused on electric vehicles, and has previously been confirmed to debut in 2025 on a new 3 Series-sized mid-size model, built in a new factory in Hungary.

Above: The electric version of the current 3 Series sold in China, also known as the i3.

According to the source, the current ‘G20’ 3 Series sedan and ‘G21’ 3 Series Touring wagon were initially scheduled to go out of production in October 2025 and June 2026 respectively – but these dates have been pushed to June and October 2027.

But rather than a combustion-engined replacement, the G20 and G21 3 Series will reportedly be replaced at BMW’s Mexican factory in 2027 with the Neue Klasse-based, all-electric i3 sedan and Touring, codenamed NA0 and NA1 respectively.

It’s unclear why production of the new electric i3 will start in Mexico (San Luis Potosi) two years later than at BMW’s new, EV-focused factory in Hungary, which has been confirmed for 2025.

One option could see BMW want to build the all-new i3 on the same production line in Mexico as the petrol 3 Series, which would see the EV initially imported to the US from Hungary, and sold alongside the petrol car – before switching to the Mexican plant later on.

This aligns with ynguldyn’s mention that Mexico will be the “primary production plant for Neue Klasse cars for the North American plant”, opening the door to manufacturing elsewhere for other markets. However, this all remains speculation for now.

The new 2025-27 i3 is not to be confused with the i3 sedan that just went on sale in China, a long-wheelbase electric version of the current 3 Series – itself continuing a name synonymous with BMW’s defunct i3 city car sold from 2013 to 2022.

Fuel-guzzling SUV fans, don’t fret; while the 3 Series looks set to go electric-only for its next generation, the top-selling X3 won’t, with the option of petrol or electric power expected to remain beyond 2030.

According to the forum user, the next-generation X3 medium SUV (codenamed G45) is due to enter production in August 2024, with petrol and diesel options – in line with BMW’s traditional seven-year model cycles (the current X3 launched in 2017).

But whereas today’s electric iX3 is based on the petrol-powered model, the next-generation iX3 will reportedly ride on the Neue Klasse architecture, with its own codename, NA5.

This model is slated to enter production in Mexico for the North American market in 2027, like its sedan peers, according to ynguldyn – however it’s unclear if it will be built in Hungary beforehand, given the three-year gap that will form between the old and new iX3s.

Above: The current BMW iX3.

The Neue Klasse mid-size cars and SUVs will be joined be electric versions of the next-generation X5, X6 and X7 large SUVs due in 2026 and 2027, badged iX5, iX6 and iX7 (and codenamed G65, G66 and G67), according to the forum user.

However, these are reportedly slated to share their bones – including bodywork, interior, features and carry-over ‘CLAR’ platform – with petrol and diesel versions – much like BMW’s current iX3, i4 and i7 EVs.

The latest report from the BimmerPost forum user aligns with recent reporting from industry journal Automotive News that i3 and iX3 production will commence in Mexico in 2027, with the SUV to start rolling off the line a few months before the sedan.

Above: BMW’s current global electric mid-size car, the i4 liftback.

Until then, BMW could move some production of its petrol-powered, current-generation X3 medium SUV to the under-utilised Mexican factory, amid high demand across the globe for the model, currently built in the US.

Meanwhile, BMW recently broke ground on its new factory for the Neue Klasse factory in Debrecen, Hungary, backed by an investment of over €1 billion ($AU1.5B) to begin producing the first model there in 2025.

Speaking about the Neue Klasse earlier this year, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said: “When it hits the market, it will be concentrated on the 3 Series segment and at that point in time the market will have developed into a size where it is reasonable to have only one drivetrain in that architecture.”

BMW aims to have electric vehicles account for half of its global sales by 2030.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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