BMW M’s First M3 Wagon Has 510Hp, But It’s Not Coming Here.

BMW has launched yet another potentially brilliant cult classic from Europe that won’t be coming to the United States, with the BMW M3 Touring (wagon).

Launched at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week, the BMW M3 Touring is based on the standard M3 sedan, but takes advantage of the BMW 3 Series Touring bodyshell to deliver a whole new level of practicality to the high-performance BMW world.

It’s one of the BMW M birthday presents to itself for its 50th anniversary, but it’s not the first M wagon, because it has also made M5 Touring models, complete with both V8 and V10 power.

It’s not even the first wagon in the class, with Audi making the genre its own with both the RS 4 and RS 6 wagons over many generations, while Mercedes-AMG will deliver a wagon version of the next C 63.

The upshot will be a mid-sized load-lugger that will hammers to 62mph in 3.6 seconds and from zero to 124mph in only 12.9 seconds, so the Europeans had better pack that luggage in snugly.

It will only be sold with the stronger BMW M3 Performance spec, meaning it has 375kW of power from its 3.0-liter, in-line turbo six cylinder gasoline engine, and it will only come with all-wheel drive.

While all-wheel drive gives it security getting out of corners, BMW has also given it a drift mode, allowing it to behave like a full rear-driver – with 10 levels of drift angles that the car’s skid-control systems can take care of regardless of driver skill.

BMW’s M3 Touring will run out to 250km/h in its standard form or, with higher-performance tires fitted as part of the M Driver’s Package, its speed limiter can be moved to 280km/h.

“It’s not a limited edition model, either,” BMW M3 Product Manager Hagan Franke insisted.

“It’s a full-line M3 Touring, with the production due to start in November, and European deliveries beginning in December. It won’t go to the US or China, but it will be in Japan, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.”

Why a wagon?

There is a BMW M3 sedan and a BMW M4 coupe (and convertible) that is almost the same car, but BMW M never thought to build an M3 wagon before.

Why?

“There was a thought that the M3 should be pure, a pure performance sedan and coupe (the coupe version used to be called the M3 as well, until a nameplate realignment),” Franke said.

“But everybody who worked on the M3, we all pushed for it because it’s the sort of car we all wanted.

“The M3 is in the performance sweet spot where it can be used as a day to day car as well as a track car, and if it’s an everyday car, a wagon makes sense for practicality.

“And it’s not any slower, in the real world.”

It’s not much slower because it runs the exact same powertrain as the M3 Performance, with 650Nm of torque, an eight-speed automatic transmission and an Active M rear differential, with 85kg more mass.

The M3 Touring will come with BMW’s M Drive Professional package as standard equipment, so it will have 10 stages of drift angles in its 2WD mode. It will also have a drift analyser and a lap timer, though those two things seem diametrically opposed.

Either way, the drift mode seems an expensive way to eat up 285/30 ZR20 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, though it’s easier on the 275/35 ZR19 front rubber. There will not be a plus-one wheel and tyre option.

Are we getting it here?

The BMW M3 Touring isn’t coming to the US (or China), even though Audi has recently confirmed the RS 6 wagon is coming.

So BMW has given itself a birthday present, but isn’t sending it to the world’s two largest new car markets. Because reasons.

That leaves the M3 Touring production to be split between the expected biggest markets of Germany and the UK, plus Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Switzerland, South Korea and Japan.

Performance wagons, BMW argues, have never found traction in the US, which is a shame because high-rise performance SUVs have found traction.

SUVs like the BMW X3M and X4M, the Audi RS Q5 and RS Q7 and RS Q8, and Mercedes-AMG’s GLE 63 and GLS 63 have all kicked goals here.

The other pity of it is that the BMW M3 Touring is like the Audi RS4, but gives more of everything.

It has another 41kW of power, another 50Nm of torque, an extra 75mm of length, another 31mm of width, 32mm more in the wheelbase and an extra 75mm of height.

It’s also faster than the venerable Audi Sport machine, slashing half a second from its 0-62mph time, with 3.6 seconds versus 4.1 seconds.

What else does it have?

The M3 Touring will inherit the new instrument cluster display from the i4 EV (though with its own M graphics) and, other than that, it’s very M3 in the passenger area.

The 12.3-inch instrument cluster has shift lights as well as M-specific car setup and tyre condition widgets, and it has both a 14.9-inch multimedia display and M-specific content in the Head-Up Display.

The interior and exterior colour palates will mirror the standard M3’s range (the studio car we had was Chalk, with a red interior), with two solid paints, six metallic options, three Individual colours and five “shimmering matt” Frozen colours. There are another 165 Individual colours that can be ordered by special request.

Standard interior gear includes three-zone climate control, ambient lighting, BMW’s Live Cockpit Plus and full LED lighting, though optional Laser headlights stretch the night vision out to 550 metres in front of the car.

It will carry all the same options as the M3, and its 1865kg dry weight is 85kg heavier than the M3 Competition AWD model.

It’s bigger than the standard 3 Series Touring, too, with the 4794mm overall length adding 85mm, the boosted track widths adding 76mm to the width (1903mm) and it’s 4mm lower (1436mm).

To compensate for weight of the longer roof, the M3 Touring runs to options like carbon-fibre bucket seats, a carbon package, a track pack, track tyres, carbon-ceramic brakes and six-piston fixed front brake calipers.

BMW is keen for people to believe the M3 Touring will be just as happy on the road or the track, and has taken all the M3’s underbody reinforcements and added even more beneath the luggage area’s floor.

The adaptive M suspension, with its active electronically controlled dampers and variable ratio power steering, mate with a five-link rear suspension system.

There will be no sunroof option, and the roof can either be in high-gloss black or in the optional body colour, though there is an extra small lip spoiler on the trailing edge of the roof.

With a 2857mm wheelbase, the M3 Touring has 500 liters of luggage capacity, though dropping the 40:20:40 split-fold rear seat can boost that to 1510 liters.

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