The petrolhead community loves a fast wagon. That’s why the likes of the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes E63 AMG Estate continue to be offered to fulfil that niche. There are smaller models too, like the Audi RS4 Avant and the Mercedes AMG C43 Estate. But BMW never really leaned into it the same way as its German rivals. It’d offer the occasional M5 Touring, sometimes disguised as an Alpina. But it never really introduced the model that BMW M fans have been clamouring for. In the year celebrating its 50th anniversary, BMW has finally answered their call with the M3 Touring.
First one ever
The 3 Series is one of BMW’s most successful models ever. One of the most iconic M models has been the E30 M3. That’s also the generation that got the first-ever 3 Series estate, i.e. the Touring variant. in 1987. Since then, BMW has introduced five more generations of the 3 Series, each has had a sportier M version, an estate version, but never a sportier M estate version. But that’s changed in 2022. We now have the first-ever M3 Touring, based on the facelifted version of the seventh-generation G20 3 Series.
It gets aggressive styling, just like the M3 sedan with bespoke touches for the revised rear end such as the roof-mounted spoiler with a gurney. That enlarged BMW grille actually looks alright on the Touring model. The M3 Touring also gets the sporty rear diffuser, side skirts, quad-exit tailpipes, and flared arches. There is plenty of carbon fibre on display For a two-fold result: lower weight and increased sportiness.
High on performance
The current-gen M3 Competition is the most powerful one yet. The M3 Touring gets the same top-spec performance package. Its twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine churns out 510hp and 650Nm while mated to an 8-speed M Steptronic. The M xDrive system sends power to both front and rear axles with the option of an RWD-only mode. Safe to say, the M3 Touring will be as fun to drive as it is a practical all-weather estate. The official 0-100kph time stands at 3.6 seconds with the top speed capped at 280kph.
BMW re-tuned the M-specific chassis to achieve a balance between trackable performance and daily usability. The M3 Touring gets model-specific bracing for the underfloor and the luggage area.
Fastest wagon around the Nürburgring
Like any cool BMW M product, the M3 Touring was extensively tested at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Ahead of the unveiling, a production-spec model wrapped in camouflage set an official timed lap around the Green Hell and set an official record for estate cars. The M3 Touring lapped the iconic Nordschleife in a rather impressive 7min35.060secs. That’s quicker than the previous-gen M3 CS and the 2018 E63 AMG Estate. Their times weren’t even for the complete lap, unlike the current time record protocols. Mercedes-Benz may still beat the record with its new-gen AMG estate but for now, BMW’s record stands and owners can brag about it at every car meet.
You can watch full lap here:
The estate bodywork does not add as much luggage space as you’d expect. Since the 3-er is a sporty model, the overall height of the car remains low. Like the regular Touring, the M3 Touring offers a minimum boot space of 500 litres, just 20 more than the M3 Sedan. But by folding down the split-folding rear seats (40:20:40), the Touring has a total luggage capacity of 1,510 litres.
A design detail for added practicality is that the rear window can be opened to access the boot without having to open the entire boot lid. The rest of the cabin is as feature-loaded as the regular M3 Competition sedan. The M3 Touring can be specced with M Carbon bucket seats for the front while the rear seat is a proper bench. Its dashboard features the curved BMW display setup with a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and a 14.9-inch infotainment system running on the BMW OS 8. The usual plethora of cabin comforts includes multizone climate control, leather upholstery, ambient lighting, and driver-assist systems.
All you’ll ever need
The estate offers a blend of elegant design and increased practicality over a regular sedan thanks to the extra boot space. It allows the family to have a cool car while also being as practical as a far uglier SUV. Throw in a powerful engine and you have a car that also caters to the driving enthusiast. It allows one to leap away from a redlight, ahead of all the boring adults on the same tedious journeys of work and family chores. It allows you to drop down a gear and enjoy a twisty road with your family seated comfortably alongside. It even allows you to ferry your DIY furniture with ease. A sporty estate does all of these things and meets all the needs of a family person that takes joy in driving. The BMW M3 Touring is all of those things.
It’s just big enough for the average family while also being manageable in city traffic. The styling is not discrete but not so aggressive as to draw the eye of a traffic police officer. There’s also the clever AWD system that can turn it into a RWD hoon, using its 510hp to slide the rear end around a corner (or for doing donuts). To top it all off, it’s faster than the current-generation Audi RS4 Avant and the latest Mercedes C43 AMG Estate. On paper, the first-ever BMW M3 Touring is all the car you might ever need.
While the M3 Touring made its public debut at the 2022 Goodwood Festival Of Speed, order books will open in September, and prices will be announced afterwards. Furthermore, production is slated to start in November, and if you’re not in your local BMW dealer’s special list of contacts, you might find it hard to get one before summer 2023.
Personally, I’m not a fan of its looks, and I’d rather take the Audi RS4 or hunt for a Volvo V60 Polestar Engineered that packs a hybrid setup putting out a healthy 415hp.
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