A driving enthusiast has launched a petition—which is gaining traction—to convince BMW to bring the upcoming M3 Touring to the U.S., but is the effort in vain? Maybe, or maybe not—the power of the BMW community, and more importantly our CCA family, should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to getting our hands on models that were originally intended to stay overseas.
The BMW Car Club of America has proven a persuasive and tenacious demographic before, especially when concerning the E36 M3. The late Bob Roemer, who not only was a gifted journalist and a pioneering force for Roundel—he was aptly nicknamed Mister Roundel—was responsible for initiating a campaign with CCA members directed toward BMW North America that culminated with a U.S. edition of the E36 M3. Thanks to Roemer’s persistence, and many letters from those who rallied behind the cause, then president of BMW NA Vic Doolan—along with BMW Motorsport’s head, Karl-Heinz Kalbfell—decided to export the E36 M3 to these shores. The U.S.-spec M3, although it had less power and was a simplified version of the rest-of-world model, was significantly more affordable than its European stablemate, allowing it to be marketable in the U.S.
The success of the model and its influence on American BMW culture are undeniable.
When BMW confirmed the future of the G81 M3 Touring, American enthusiasts tried not to get too excited for fear of getting our hopes up—and our pessimistic hunch was correct. We would not get the performance Touring here. In fact, we have long known that we won’t be getting any long-roof BMWs in the future, which is why the wagon community has taken to building their own Tourings over the years.
But revisiting the success of Roemer’s campaign has many enthusiasts thinking. What if we could repeat history here?
Yes, BMW has made it clear that SAVs are integral to their formula for the future—but is there really no room for wagons in that equation? Even the ever-changing American auto industry seems to have kept its love for wagons constant. Despite what automakers may believe, it is safe to say that some fans never stopped loving long-roof BMWs. From an economic standpoint, wagons may still be a niche segment, dwarfed by their distant SUV and crossover cousins, but many believe that there is still a market for them—and the buying habits of consumers seem to agree.
Petitioning a private company is not always that easy, however, nor that fruitful. Although it is nice for fans to have an outlet to express dismay at the M3 Touring’s absence from the American market, it still remains doubtful whether those pleas will not only reach Munich brass, but be heard and acted upon.
Still, a sense of optimism never hurt anyone, and perhaps “never say never” is the correct mantra for the situation. Surely many enthusiasts would be eager to see any BMW wagon on American soil, regardless of the specifications.—Malia Murphy
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]