BMW has released a teaser image of the new G81 M3 Touring. And that is big news. Very big indeed…… In terms of boot space.
In the last 30 or so years, BMW fans never had the option of buying a practical M3. I mean sure, a sedan is practical. But it is not AS practical as a wagon. Although, BMW has hinted at more “practical” variants of their coveted M3 over the years. The first was back in 1986, when they took an old E30 convertible, dropped the first-generation M3’s powertrain in and took an angle grinder to the rear cab to turn it into an M3 pickup truck. This was used as a transport vehicle by BMW M to ferry parts around, and it was retired in 2012.
For the E46 generation 3-series, BMW fitted the M3 chassis into a touring body, complete with M-performance tidbits such as the widened wheel arches and bumpers. This old M3 touring was built as a prototype to test the feasibility of integrating the M3 Touring into the 3-series’ production line, without the need for expensive tools. Alas, it never made it to production.
It happened again in 2011, when they created a one-off M3 Pickup based on the E93 convertible. Complete with a 4.0L naturally aspirated V8. The Aussies would’ve called it a Ute. But BMW called it an April Fool’s joke. A street legal, fully functional, Nürburgring tested, 186mph April fool’s joke. With a flatbed.
But I checked. And double checked my calendars. It’s nowhere near April 1st. Even the CEO of BMW M, Markus Flasch posted the teaser image on his instagram page (@markusflasch). So joy of joys, it must be true. An M3 Touring really is coming.
As of now, the closest thing to an M3 wagon that buyers could get is an Alpina B3/D3 Touring. Or a very highly specced M340i touring. With options. Or if you have the dough, you could opt for the old E61 generation M5 wagon (yeah, the one with the V10).
Come September 2020, the newest iteration of the M3 Sedan and M4 coupe would be unveiled, with the M4 convertible slated to hit the showroom floors next year.
Like the coupe and sedan, the M3 Touring is expected to come with a 3.0L twin turbocharged straight-six, the same S58 powerplant found in the current X3 and X4M, putting out an estimated 473 horsepower (and probably more for the competition model). That puts it up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C63(S) AMG Wagon and the Audi RS4 Avant.
Just like the upcoming M3 sedan, the M3 Touring is also rumoured to have an AWD system that can be calibrated to send all power to the rear wheels, like the outgoing M5. The dual clutch 7-speed transmission is also expected to stay, albeit with a few revisions to improve shift times. Or maybe there’ll be an option for a stick and a third pedal like its brethren. Who knows?
No word yet on when the BMW M3 touring will be released. Either in September with its coupe and sedan siblings, or next year with the M4 convertible. But whenever it may be, Mercedes AMG and Audi RS had better watch their backs. A new performance wagon is coming to town.