BMW M cars have always had the reputation for being absolute animals on track. They have been blessed with sonorous engines, sharpened handling and serious rubber over their lesser, mainstream BMW cousins.
There’s always been a price to pay for this track-focused makeover. With bigger power, stiffer springs and plenty of additional grip, these cars are stiffer, less comfortable and much rowdier than cars lower down the BMW food chain.
Also, production M cars have traditionally been based on souped up coupe or saloon offerings. Your spouse has a fairly watertight argument against you buying one then, since she’d probably not be very impressed with an overly boisterous vehicle with no real practicality.
Things are set to change, as you can now own an M car that preserves all of what makes them great in the first place but with one crucial difference – a significant increase in the cargo capacity. Yes, for the first time in history, buyers can now own an M3 wagon.
What Exactly is This?
Well, it is an M3, but with a twist. Prior to this, you can either have the savage performance of an M3, or the practicality of a 3 series wagon. Customers were never able to experience both in a singular package. BMW has actually built a few prototype M3 Wagons, but nothing ever made it into production.
So then, the G81 M3 Touring is, on paper at least, the ideal blend of performance and practicality. None of that M3 magic has been lost in the wagon-ification process – the S58 engine still makes 503 bhp, and the weight increase over the saloon is negligible.
And the same is true aesthetically. Apart from the obvious differences in the silhouette of the vehicle, the front and rear fascias are the same as what you’d get on the saloon. This means plenty of carbon fibre, aggressive body lines and the inclusion of the enlarged kidney grilles first introduced with this particular 3 series generation back in 2020.
You’ll find a support pair of M seats upfront, which will come in handy when you are properly on the move. A nice, but unnecessary, detail is the addition of illuminated M emblems on the headrests.
Building on the performance-oriented nature of the vehicle, BMW opted to use plenty of carbon fibre in the cabin of the M3 Touring. It suits the rowdy nature of the vehicle, and when coupled with the ambient lighting and various red switches throughout the cabin, really makes you feel like you are in a very special automobile.
One that still has plenty of room in the back. Adult passengers still have copious amounts of room in the back, though the mostly-black trim of this particular test car may make the rear feel more claustrophobic than it really is. And of course, being a wagon, there’s plenty of space for any amount of cargo that you may need to lug around.
Extremely Capable on the go
The M3 Touring makes any driver feel like a professional. Everything on the car is wonderfully approachable, with sharp and quick steering, and grip that doesn’t seem to ever end, even if the roads get a little slick.
With all the electronic nannies on, the car appears to simply shrug off the laws of physics, even when you are driving enthusiastically in a downpour. The combination of torque vectoring and traction control foiled any attempt at oversteer, even if you entered a corner carrying a little too much momentum.
Even with all the driver aids off, you can really tell that this is one well engineered vehicle. The chassis and its sticky tyres provide excellent traction, so whilst it is possible to nudge the rear into oversteer, the incredible torque vectoring system very quickly sends power to the front wheels, and you find the car taking off down the road.
And it does all of these things effortlessly. Its S58 engine appears to have a fairly wide powerband, so there’s torque and power seemingly everywhere. It may not have a DCT, but it doesn’t feel like it actually needs one, as the engine and the ZF 8HP works really well as a complete package.
Future Classic in the Making
You’ll probably come to the same conclusion that I came to after spending a couple of days with the car. The M3 Touring is very much an M3 first, and a wagon second. It is ludicrously capable, and comes with all the space that you’d ever need.
But M3 Touring buyers will never do ‘Touring’ things with it. It costs far too much money to buy, and is exorbitantly costly to daily drive the car. These will drive you to not carry any items in the back, for fear of scuffing up the premium materials in the cabin.
In all fairness though, you probably wouldn’t even be looking to buy an M3 if you’re seeking a sensible daily in the first place. Instead, you need to understand its provenance. Judge this car as a status symbol, and you’ll start to understand why BMW built this.
This is a symbol of triumph, a sign that the enthusiasts within BMW’s M division have convinced their bean counting colleagues to let loose and respond to the cries of the car community’s desire to have the ultimate M3 iteration in a wagon bodystyle.
In a world obsessed with efficiency and electrification, the M3 Touring sticks out like a sore thumb. However, it is a celebration of what the M brand is all about, and a reminder that this is the first, and perhaps the last, internal combustion M3 wagon that’d ever be made.
And on that front, this is one fantastic car that you should buy if you have the funds to do so.
|BMW M3 Touring Specifications|
|Price: $639,888||VES Band: C2|
Turbocharge Inline 6
503 bhp, 650 Nm
Fuel Tank Capacity:
4,801 mm x 1,903 mm x 1,446 mm
Photo Credits: ACube Creative (@weareacube)
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