It cringes me to write this, but there is a very real possibility that the next-generation BMW M3 may be a plug-in hybrid.

Usually when it comes to performance cars I can’t wait to get working on a story, but this time I’m writing with my brain partly switched off and a disinterest in this piece of news I came across.

The motoring world is moving toward an electric era – an era where the traditional combustion engine is either falling away or used in conjunction with something to better fuel consumption and emissions. And the BMW M3 is the next supercar to succumb to this ever-increasing craze.

BMW itself is no stranger to electric and hybrid cars. Two very recent examples are the i3 and i8 electric vehicles. Each one a masterpiece in its own right, and, in the i8’s case, a capable sports car, too. But the thing is, the technologies used on these cars, especially the i8, prompted BMW to think about getting these technologies to their other cars, as well.

Hence the next BMW M3 to be a hybrid.

On the one hand I can probably understand why BMW is doing it, but on the other I feel bitter disappointment. Not because fancy new technologies will be implemented, but because it is another nail in the coffin of engines as we know it. The naturally aspirated engine is dying. A few years ago we had proper V8 engine cars; cars with big displacements that could make a lot of noise. But that made way for smaller displacement engines aided by turbo’s and superchargers. The reason: “to have the power of a big engine, but the fuel consumption of a small engine”.

What BMW is doing will probably gain it a few followers, but I am willing to bet that the majority of BMW fans and owners will not be too happy about it. Because what about tradition? What about heritage? Is the future so important that you have to leave what you stand for behind?

It doesn’t matter if the next M3 will retain the rear-wheel drive setup, but don’t soft-soap this unpleasant news by saying that one, or maybe two, electric motors could drive the front wheels, giving the car an all-wheel drive ability.

The sad part about it all is that when the new BMW M3 arrives in a few years’ time the motoring world will accept it and we will say that it is another step forward in the M3’s rich history.

I cringe at the thought.