2026 BMW iX3 and i3 Kick Off BMW's Next Stage of EV Transition

bmw ix3 render electric suv
2026 i3 and iX3 Push BMW’s EV Plans ForwardIllustration by Avarvarii - Car and Driver
  • BMW transitions to a dual-platform strategy for its ICE and EV models with the arrival of the i3 sedan and iX3 SUV.

  • Unfortunately, the brand is expected to eventually pull the plug on the Z4.

  • Look for the Alpina subbrand to eventually battle the likes of Bentley and Mercedes-Maybach.

BMW’s battery-­electric Neue Klasse platform will launch in 2025 and underpin the next-generation iX3 and i3 (no relation to the i3 hatchback of yore), which arrive for the 2026 model year. The two models serve as battery-­powered varieties of the X3 and the 3-­series, respectively, which are also due for redesigns—the X3 late this year and the 3-­series in 2026.

The internal-combustion variants will use the CLAR II platform that currently does double duty, under­pinning the gas-fed 5- and 7-series and the battery-­electric i5 and i7. Expect BMW to carry on this dual-­platform strategy through 2035, with the company eventually adopting an entirely electric lineup.

Some Coupes and Convertibles to Disappear

bmw concept touring coupe

Pour one out for the Z4, as BMW’s roadster won’t see another generation, battery-powered or otherwise. Nor will Munich add a coupe body style to the Z4 line (à la last year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este concept, pictured) as a final hurrah for the slow-selling model.


The 8-series coupe and convertible will likely expire as well, with insiders telling us the next-generation car is due to survive strictly in four-door Gran Coupe form. We wager that the next 8-series will spawn a battery-­electric i8 equivalent too.

Alpina and Rolls-Royce

2021 alpina xb7

BMW also plans to push its Alpina-fiddled models upmarket to better compete with Mercedes-Maybach. To avoid in-house competition, Rolls-Royce will forgo a replacement for the Ghost, a model the upcoming Alpina B7 will effectively replace. Expect Rolls to lean more heavily on exclusivity, with a droptop variant of the electric Spectre coupe and mega-dollar custom cars like the recent Droptail.

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