Enthusiasts will be disappointed.
The all-new BMW M3 is finally here, controversially-styled front end and all. The 473-horsepower sedan is set to go on sale next March along with its coupe counterpart, the M4. But there is one upcoming body style we sadly won't have the option of buying. BMW previously confirmed plans to launch the M3 Touring, a wagon version of the benchmark high-performance luxury sedan. As is the case with regular 3 Series Touring, it won't be sold in North America. But unlike the sedan and coupe, the M3 Touring will apparently lack two key ingredients that may upset enthusiasts.
According to information obtained by BMW Blog, the M3 Touring will be sold in just a single configuration; Competition-spec with xDrive all-wheel drive and the eight-speed automatic transmission.
In other words, no rear-wheel-drive or six-speed manual options. Disappointing? For sure, but not entirely unexpected. BMW is keenly aware the M3 Touring will cater to niche buyers only and doesn't expect it to sell in large numbers. Also, because it is American customers who are BMW's biggest manual/RWD enthusiasts, it doesn't make sense to offer this combo to European buyers who would be far less likely to opt for it anyway. The majority of European wagon buyers already prefer AWD and automatics.
As to why the M3 Touring will be sold in Competition-spec only, the reason is very simple: the 510 horsepower Competition models are already going to be AWD/automatic-only.
Why would BMW M spend the time and money to change this for a niche vehicle? The sensible choice is to make the M3 Touring less of an enthusiast vehicle and a better all-around daily driver. Remember, the M3 Touring's main rival, the also overseas-only Audi RS 4 Avant, is AWD and automatic-only as well.
Although we'd all love to see the M3 Touring come to the US and have a stick with RWD option, the fact that BMW is building it in the first place is great to see. Sometimes you gotta take what you can get.