• Time Capsule: Here’s All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring

The M3 Touring was BMW’s best-kept secret for nearly two decades, but it is finally going to see the light of the day

BMW M3 Touring: If you’re a fan of super wagons, or even wagons for that matter, there’s no way this is an alien term to you. BMW has stayed away from the performance wagon segment for a very, very long time, but has finally decided to snatch its share of the pie by coming up with the 2023 M3 Touring. The M3 Touring’s history spans over two decades, but it is entering production only now. Well, better late than never, because we are hyped about the M3 Touring and can’t wait for it to come out. There aren’t a whole lot of details available about it yet, but here’s everything you need to know about it – the ideation, inception, conception, cancellation, execution, and finally, the production. Quite a revelation, right? (Okay, I’ll stop with the wordplay now).

How Did The Journey Begin? – The E46 M3 Touring Concept

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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The M3 Touring Concept was developed back in 2000, but was unveiled as a teenager in 2016. It was the first M3 wagon, but not the first M wagon. The credit for that goes to the E34 M5 Touring which was launched way back in 1992. The E46 M3 Touring Concept was powered by a 3.2-liter, six-cylinder S54 engine. It made 343 horses and 269 pound-feet of torque, making it the second most powerful six-pot naturally aspirated engine at the time. The M3 coupe of the yore with the same power plant could sprint to 62 mph from a standstill in 5.2 seconds.

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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There were some distinct exterior elements, too, like the laterals gills behind the front doors, 19-inch M Styling wheels, ventilated hood with Powerdome, larger front air inlets, and a four-pipe exhaust system amongst other things. It even featured an exclusive paint – Chrome Shadow metallic. Fun fact: BMW painted the vehicle in high-gloss black and then bright silver to achieve this finish. On the inside, the seats featured Alcantara and a unique material called F1 which had a metallic touch to it.

Why Didn’t BMW Pull The Trigger?

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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It came to everyone’s surprise when BMW decided not to make a production version of the wagon. To a layman, it is just a wagon version of an existing car; however, it was a lot more complicated. In a documentary series that the automaker has aired this year, the officials noted that it never came to be because of production challenges. Even the littlest of things like the lateral gills on the sides of the E46 M3 couldn’t be replicated onto the wagon’s body. The Touring featured shorter side panels when compared to the M3, so the automaker would have to cut the side panels and make a new assembly, especially for the M3 Touring.

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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There were a lot of other challenges, too, that BMW faced at the time. To accommodate the wagon doors with the M3’s wide axle, they’d have to stretch out the wheel housing. Then to design the flared wheel arches, the team also had to face the challenge of matching the rear bumper casing with the wheel arch. Such fixes would lead to more changes, which finally meant tweaking the chassis construction. At that time, BMW thought it would be better to put the M3 Touring on the back burner and focus on other important projects.

It Finally Came Out In The Open

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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Almost two decades later, BMW decided to get back to the drawing board and complete this incomplete project that had immense potential. The company remained quiet about it for the longest time, but the word spread when camouflaged prototypes started testing out in the wild. The prototype production is believed to have begun in 2019, and we spotted it for the first time in the modern avatar in 2020. This turned out to be another promising but disappointing exercise. The wagon disappeared into oblivion yet again, only to resurface a year later in October 2021. We didn’t keep our hopes up this time, but BMW decided to make the return of this anticipated wagon official!

BMW Makes The Return Official

BMW decided to kick start 2022 with a bang as it officially announced that the M3 Touring is finally happening! The announcement came through a teaser on the automaker’s Instagram page that showcased an aerial view of a camouflaged BMW M3 Touring standing in the snow. This teaser was a subtle way of showing that the family hauler can be fun in the snow as well. The M3 Touring was seen drifting around in the snow, directed by a helicopter, to create ‘2022’; indicating that the super wagon will debut in 2022.

BMW Drops The Cover In A Documentary

Post the announcement, BMW came up with a series of videos that show where the BMW M3 Touring started and how the production came to be. The videos have been shot with the folks who have worked closely with the superwagon in the past as well as the present. While the video gives us good insight into the M3 Touring, the biggest talking point about it was its reveal. Well, not the whole thing, but BMW lifted the tarp and showed us the M3 Touring’s rear fascia without any skin or camouflage.

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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As expected, the super wagon’s derriere is drool-worthy. It was finished in Frozen Dark Silver shade, which is BMW’s term for matte silver. This seems to be an ode to the E46 M3 Touring Concept’s exterior color. The wagon carries over the M3’s taillights and features an aggressive diffuser at the bottom. It even has the vertical slotted reflectors on either side, just like the M3 coupe. You’ll also get a four-tailpipe exhaust setup here. The M3 Touring will come with a roof-edge spoiler and the folks at the company noted that it is created using 3D-printing technique.

The BMW M3 Touring Is Officially The Fastest Wagon At The Nürburgring!

There was no stopping this wagon since the start of 2022. We spotted it a lot more often, once even up close and personal. With such immense testing, we knew it is around the corner. But, BMW decided to hype the wagon up even more. How, you ask? Well, by setting a new wagon lap record at the Nürburgring! The super station wagon lapped the ‘Ring in 7:35.060, thus making it the fastest wagon ever to grace the Green Hell.

It Could Be The Hottest-Looking Wagon On Sale

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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This is essentially a wagon version of the M3, so it goes without saying that a lot of M3 elements will be carried here. This is kind of contradictory since BMW had trouble converting the sedan to a wagon two decades back. But, a lot has changed since then and BMW has noted that the wagon will be just as good as the sedan. Anywho, we’ve already seen the rear and the similarities it shares with the M3 coupe, but we expect the front fascia to carry even more similarities and be nearly identical to its alter ego. From the preliminary looks, we can spot widened front axles as well as large front air intakes. The BMW M3 Touring will also have lots of cuts and creases all around.

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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From the prototypes that we’ve spotted testing, it looks like the wagon will be offered with sweet-looking 20- or 21-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires. It will also come with side skirts and winglets at the front and back. From whatever we’ve seen so far, the M3 Touring G81 looks a stunner. The M3 Touring will go up against the likes of the Audi RS4 Avant and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. Both are pretty good-looking (especially the RS4 Avant… Phew!), but the M3 touring could trump them both. But that said, looks are a subjective topic, so we’ll let you decide which one will be the best-looking wagon of the three.

It Won’t Be A Watered-Down M3 Whatsoever

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring
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As for the drivetrains, the G81 M3 Touring will carry over the M3’s engines and transmissions. BMW has confirmed that the wagon will feature the famous 3.0-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder S58 engine. It will be offered in two forms in all likelihood – one in the standard model, and the other in the Competition version. If carried over in the same states of tune as the M3 coupe, expect it to make 473 ponies and 406 pound-feet of torque in the standard form and 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of twist in the Competition model.

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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Should BMW feel a little generous, we could expect the M3 CSL’s state of tune. Even the M3 CSL’s figures are still a mystery, but it is expected to make 525 horses; a little less than M4 CSL’s 543 ponies. This is mere speculation on our part, so take it with a pinch of salt. If that happens, it’ll be more powerful than its rivals.

To put things into perspective, the Audi RS4 Avant makes 444 horses and 443 pound-feet of torque, whereas the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate pumps out 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet oomph. As for the gearbox and drive layout, it could feature the same six-speed manual gearbox that drives the rear wheels as standard. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive layout could be offered as optional. But, if we go by this earlier report, it will be offered only with an automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive xDrive system.

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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Not too long ago, BMW said that the M3 Touring will drive just like the M3 sedan even when packed with passengers and luggage. Klaus Uber, the man in charge of driving dynamics for all M cars, said, "We have left no stone unturned on this car. That’s the adaptive damping, steering, DSC, ABC, etc., in order to achieve the goal, we set for the M3 Touring from the very outset of the project – to make it drive the same as the M3 [sedan]."

There’s Some Good News And Bad News

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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The good news is that the 2023 BMW M3 Touring is debuting this year and it will enter production for sure. Given that BMW put it off two decades back, we were skeptical for the longest time even this time around. Also, it was the only one of the ‘Three Germans’ to not have a performance wagon in its portfolio. So, yes, a lot of good news. But, the bad news is that the automaker won’t be bringing the M3 Touring Stateside. Believe it or not, a petition was filed to make the hot shots sitting in Munich change their mind. However, given the sparse demand for wagons here, we highly doubt that BMW will take the plunge. But, for all you know, BMW could pull a Ford and finally cave into the needs of the enthusiasts and bring it here. But, don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

When Is It Arriving?

Time Capsule: Here's All You Need To Know About The BMW M3 Touring Exterior Spyshots
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It looks like BMW M’s 50th-anniversary celebrations this year will continue for some more time as the BMW M3 Touring is all set to debut on June 23rd, 2022 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Managing Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - siddhant.d@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a managing editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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