If indeed BMW is preparing an all-electric 3er, it is not clear when this new offering would go on sale. However, an earlier report suggested electric versions of mainstream BMW models wouldn't begin appearing in showrooms until 2019.
In separate but related news, Nicolas Peter, BMW's chief financial officer, confirmed to Reuters and others the Bavarian car maker will continue to spend heavily on electric vehicle development.
Above and below: BMW 330e plug-in hybrid.
Aggressive CO2 targets from the EU, and EV and hybrid incentives in China are spurring BMW, as well as other manufacturers, to invest heavily in electrified drivetrains.
Peter told Reuters that, over the next three years, the company plans on allocating between 5.5 and 6.0 per cent of its total revenue to its research and development budget.
To help offset the cost of developing and selling more electric vehicles, the company will streamline its options list, with Peter noting: "We have over 100 steering wheels on offer. Do we need that many variants?"
The company is also understood to have plans for paring back drivetrain options, with manual transmissions being dropped from the 2 Series coupe line in the US, and future models to feature fewer diesel variants.
With BMW yet to make official any of these reports, local impact is unclear. A BMW Australia spokesperson has confirmed with CarAdvice today that the company will not comment on future product.