As you all know by now, this year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW M. But instead of getting a birthday cake and blowing out the candles, Munich’s in-house tuner is giving us a gift – the M3 wagon we never had. Welcome, everyone, to the first ever BMW M3 Touring, which brings all the goodness from the regular M3 and M4 and grafts it onto a more practical (and strangely alluring to enthusiasts) body style.
The recipe is familiar by now, headlined by the S58 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight-six. The Touring comes in Competition form only, which means it gets the full 510 PS at 6,250 rpm and 650 Nm of torque from 2,750 to 5,500 rpm. It also comes with a eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard – no manual option here. Befitting its do-anything nature, the wagon is only available with M xDrive all-wheel drive, although there is a rear active locking differential and a rear-wheel-drive mode for you to pull smoky drifts.
So equipped, the Touring sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds (only one tenth of a second slower than the sedan and coupé) and hits 200 km/h in 12.9 seconds. Opting for the M Driver’s Package raises the electronically-limited top speed to 280 km/h (10 km/h lower).
To ensure the wagon delivers the dynamic driving experience expected of an M car, the chassis has been fine-tuned to take into account the larger, heavier body, including the fitment of uprated rear dampers. The structure itself has also been strengthened with specific underfloor and boot bracing to maintain torsional stiffness. Adaptive dampers and variable-ratio steering come as standard, as usual.
The rest of the performance enhancements are shared with the sedan and coupé and include ten-step traction control integrated in the ECU, a brake-by-wire system and M Compound disc brakes that hide behind standard 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged alloy wheels. Carbon ceramic brakes and track tyres are available as an option.
Also shared with the other M3 and M4 variants are most of the visual addenda, fitted to the body of the G21 3 Series Touring. Yes, this means the longroof gets the divisive front end with the controversial full-height grille, trapezoidal headlights, split centre air intakes and vertical air curtain inlets. Muscular fenders, diagonal side gills and a heavily sculpted bonnet with fake “vent” divots are also part of the package.
Unlike other M cars, the M3 Touring doesn’t get a carbon fibre roof; the metal panel is painted black as standard, although you can specify a body-coloured finish together with the door mirrors. Moving to the rear, the usual giant rectangular diffuser (with quad tailpipes, optionally available in chrome) is augmented by a bespoke Gurney flap atop the tailgate spoiler.
Inside, the Touring gets the same M steering wheel (with the trademark M1 and M2 buttons), unique gearlever with Drivelogic setting switch, red starter button and M Sport seats as its siblings, with the spectacular-looking M Carbon bucket seats again offered as an option. As with sedan units built starting next month, the wagon receives the new BMW Curved Display with a 12.3-inch instrument display and a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen, paired with the latest BMW Operating System 8.
Wagons are nothing without their luggage space, of course, and the Touring doesn’t disappoint. You get 500 litres of boot space back there, expandable by folding the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats to boost the cargo hold to an impressive 1,510 litres.
You’d better make sure your IKEA shopping is strapped down – as verified last week, the Touring is officially the fastest wagon to lap the Nürbrgring, blitzing its way around the Nordschleife in 7 minutes 35.06 seconds. That’s more than ten seconds faster than the outgoing W205 Mercedes-AMG C63S Estate, which will be replaced by a four-cylinder model in the next generation.
The M3 Touring is primarily targeted at customers in Germany and the United Kingdom, expected to be the car’s biggest markets; Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan will also receive it. The order books will open in September ahead of the start of production in November.