The upcoming M3 Touring is one of the most anticipated BMW models in several years. Although it’s based on the current generation M3 and will wear the same contentious front-end styling, the rare combination of exceptional performance, a great driving experience, and the utility inherent with any station wagon has BMW fans and automotive enthusiasts in general captivated. Naturally, the M3 Touring won’t be sold in the U.S., but that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming—or from comparing the long-roof M3 with the Alpina B3 Touring, which uses a version of the M3’s S58 M twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine.
In a new video published to the BMW M YouTube channel, the origins of the current M3 Touring are explained. The account is in German, but BMW has done us the favor of adding its own subtitles because they know the M3 wagon is an international sensation—the U.S. is the largest national market for BMW M, after all. In the video, Hans Rahn, who works in prototype construction for BMW M, is seen driving an E46 M3 Touring around the BMW M prototype facility in Garching, Germany. Rahn compares and contrasts the E46 M3 Touring with a coupe counterpart, and explains how the technical differences between the two made the original M3 Touring infeasible for series production. But things are different now, and the last few generations of BMW models all ride on similar modular platforms.
Later on, Dirk Häcker, who works in development at BMW M, takes us through how the E46 M3 effectively served as the inspiration for the upcoming M3 Touring, the latter of which was conceived and created by a small, passion-driven group within BMW M—just like other legendary BMW M cars, including the 1 Series M Coupe. In the end, BMW brass made the decision to produce the M3 Touring on the same day they committed to building the G82 M4 GT3, which is currently proving itself on famous racetracks around the world.
Although the M3 Touring almost certainly won’t be coming to the U.S., it’s clearly going to be a special model and an instant classic from the moment it goes on sale, and the video giving us the story of how it came to be is worth checking out.
Oh, and is that a next-generation M2 prototype wrapped in camouflage in the background?—Alex Tock
[Photo and video courtesy BMW AG.]