Why Isn’t BMW M3 Touring Coming to America?
BMW finally took the official wraps off of the new (and first) M3 Touring on Tuesday, and it’s exactly what we expected.
As these hot wagons go, the new M3 Touring has a long roof, hatch-style rear opening, same 503-horsepower straight-six that powers the regular M3 and M4 Competition, same grille, and, of course, no chance in America.
Cool wagons not coming to the U.S. because nobody buys them isn’t a new phenomenon. And while the rationale behind the M3 Touring’s American absence ultimately boils down to “It wasn’t worth it,” there’s a little more to the story than that.
“The decision to move forward with the M3 Touring (G81) was made late in the development of the [non-M G21] 3 Series Touring,” a BMW USA spokesperson told The Drive.
“By the time the decision was made to move ahead with the [M3 Touring], it had already long been decided that the [regular 3 Series wagon] would not come to the U.S., and therefore there had been no development work towards U.S. certification—a lengthy and costly process.”
In other words, BMW USA had already turned down homologating the 3 Series wagon wholesale before the M version was even greenlit.
And by the time the company knew an M3 Touring was coming, it was—financially speaking—too late.
“There is often a struggle between our desire to give dedicated enthusiasts of BMW what they want and the technical and financial realities of making it happen.
This is one of those times when investment for development, testing, and homologation for a low-volume vehicle was simply unjustifiable.”
Why Isn’t BMW M3 Touring Coming to America?
When I asked whether BMW USA would have homologated and federalized the wagon 3er here if only the M3 version were part of the plan from the getgo, the rep declined to speculate.
In any case, BMW says the slightly heavier M3 Touring gets from 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds, one-tenth slower than the sedan. It also receives the company’s new-gen interior featuring a curved, 14.9-inch screen.
Since most of the press photos you’ll likely have seen over the past day are of a relatively drab grey car, here’s a way cooler green one out in the wild for your viewing pleasure.
For many, if not most of our Stateside readers, this is the closest you’ll ever get to the BMW M3 Touring.
The BMW M3 was the sole performance model in its segment to not get an estate body style. Especially considering that the Audi RS4 comes only as a station wagon, while the AMG C-Class gets both a sedan and station wagon.
Well, BMW has hit back with the new M3 Touring, which brings the practicality of an estate while dialling the performance of a hawt M car.
The first thing we are going to talk about is design. Even though the standard 3 Series and M340i can be had as an estate internationationally, this is the first time the M3 is getting this practical option.
So the aggressive-looking fascia of the sedan has been slapped on at the front with a sleek station wagon body.
The M3 is a performance model slammed down with a lower ride height and looks mean, coupled with the 19/20-inch staggered wheel setup.
However, this author’s favourite angle has got to be the rear three quarters. BMW’s signature tail lamps and an aggressively styled diffuser with quad exhaust pipes give it an aggressive look.
Of course, the main focus of this body style is its improved practicality, and the M3 is a supercar designed to shift homes at a rapid pace. Open the tailgate, and you’re treated to 500-litre cargo space.
But if that isn’t enough for you, you can fold down the 40:20:40 rear seats to expand the total capacity to 1,510 litres.
The cabin is also radically different from the M3 sedan, as the Touring now features BMW’s i-Drive 8 with the floating twin displays.
Furthermore, the M-specific bits and the optional carbon fibre buckets do raise the bar for providing a sportier ambience.
And lastly, the M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel take you directly to your preset driving modes.
Speaking of which, let’s get to the heart of the matter.
A 3-litre inline-six petrol engine sits underneath the hood, belting out 510PS to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Get your launch right, and the M3 Touring does 0-100kmph in just 3.6 seconds. Keep your foot pinned, and the speedo will climb up to 250kmph (electronically limited).
Being a BMW, driving pleasure is guaranteed.
The chassis is much stiffer than the standard car, and couple that with M-specific sports suspension, and you have an agile car.
The four-wheel-drive system can be shifted to just rear-wheel drive to make those smoky doughnuts associated with a BMW.
It also gets modes that alter various parameters of the car.
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