The M3 Touring will be reserved for those living in Europe.
For years, BMW fans have been asking for a BMW M3 station wagon. BMW got close, making a one-off E46 M3 Touring back in the day. Now, the day has come for a full-fledged mass-produced BMW M3 Touring. This is it. And no, it's not coming to America. Just like all the serious German wagons, from the Audi RS2 to the Mercedes-AMG C63, we won't be getting this longroof.
Still, it's worth stopping to take a moment and drool over this (grille notwithstanding). Here are the headline specs: 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque via an eight-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels. Oh, and 53 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the seats down. That's more than a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Interested? We sure are.
Let's get the trim specs out of the way first. BMW says that all M3 wagons will essentially be Competition-spec trim. That means no manual transmission, xDrive, and what is pretty much every option in the book. You will, however, have to pay for those butt-crushing M Carbon buckets. Regardless, the powertrain should be enough to alleviate any complaints we have with the seats.
The new M3 Touring uses the Comp's drivetrain - a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six making 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. This engine also forms the basis for the unit in the new BMW M4 GT3 racer. While that car is lighter, BMW hasn't said how light or heavy the new Touring will be. Either way, that engine gets hooked to BMW's eight-speed auto with three programmable shifting modes. At the back, there's also an M-specific valved exhaust, though we expect no major changes over the sedan M3 Comp.
Sitting very close to that exhaust is an active differential as part of BMW's xDrive AWD system. Should you turn off stability control, that will also engage rear-drive-only mode for big wagon slides. The Touring will use that AWD system to run to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, and on to 124 mph in only 12.9 seconds. In a wagon.
Braking is handled by the same units in the M3 Competition, another commonality between the two. Those will have two settings for pedal feel, and you can option M Carbon Ceramic Brakes if you wish. They won't be cheap, and neither are those huge 19 and 20-inch wheels, should you curb-rash them. You can also order them with track tires, but BMW doesn't specify what brand, spec, or sizing. Michelin is the most likely candidate though.
It's worth talking about the Touring's adjustability for a moment. BMW will offer its adaptive suspension, again from the M3 Comp, along with its crazy traction control right out of a GT3 race car. It calls this "M Traction Control." In 2WD mode, it has up to ten levels of adjustability to allow you to "safely" slide your M3 Touring. Just do so very carefully.
BMW has retuned the M3 Comp's chassis for its new Touring guise, which meant intense testing both on the street and at the Nurburgring, where this car is now a record holder. It is now the fastest wagon in the world around the Green Hell, managing a blistering 7:35.06, over 10-seconds faster than an AMG E63 S.
Now, all that is very nice. The M3 Touring is a fast car. But this is a performance wagon. And here, practicality is a must. We've already mentioned the 53 ft3 of cargo capacity, but BMW also took steps to make sure this is more than just a sports car with a big ass. The Bavarian brand will offer its M Sport seats with memory and heating as standard, in addition to those crazy CFRP race buckets. Touring is in this car's name, so you know which seats to get. Though the buckets do save 21 pounds of weight.
In the back, the full-size rear seats can be folded 40:20:40, meaning any seat can be folded individually. You can even open just the rear window to load items, like all those American BMW wagon fan tears. BMW has also given the M3 Touring a standard automatic tailgate. Inside, there's some storage for smaller items under the floor.
But the crown jewels of the rear cargo space are the optional anti-slip rails that rise automatically from the floor. These will prevent your crap from sliding about while you're drifting your M3 Touring about town.
Back to the outside for a moment. BMW says that all models will have a black roof and deck spoiler in black as standard. We say that's for wimps, and you should shell out the cash to have all that painted body color. Speaking of features, the new M3 Touring will get the latest iDrive 8 system, complete with a 14.9-inch curved display that runs across the center of the dash and flows into the driver's 12.3-inch display.
That will have all sorts of widgets and performance-based apps like a lap timer and drift analyzer for you to play with, in addition to Android Auto and Apple Carplay. BMW will also offer upgraded Merino leather trim and a head-up display with "M-specific" readouts as options.
As with many new M models these days, you'll be able to tailor this car's driving characteristics at a whim, on top of Road, Track, and Sport presets. In addition to the crazy traction settings, parameters for the engine, chassis, steering braking, and AWD system will be fully adjustable. Additionally, you'll be treated to a full suite of BMW safety features.
That includes front collision warning, speed limit display, lane departure warning, and park distance control come as standard. Optional extras include steering and lane control assist, active cruise control, and others.
As of now, BMW hasn't announced pricing for the new M3 Touring. Safe to say, it won't be cheap. Here in America, an M3 Comp sedan with xDrive runs you $77,100 MSRP before options. We expect the M3 Touring to start just north of that, at around $80,000.
That's right in the neighborhood for today's current run of fast wagons. We get plenty of those here, from the Audi RS6 Avant to the Mercedes E63 AMG, to the Porsche Taycan CrossTurismo, to the Porsche Panamera SportTurismo. Still, we can't help but be a little bummed that BMW won't be bringing this one to the States to join the party. Maybe if we start another petition? Let's just tack in a new front grille as an addendum.