What do cars like the 1 Series M Coupe, Z3 M coupe, and the upcoming M3 Touring all have in common? They were all conceived and initially developed by small teams of engineers and staff, and are largely the products of passion, a bit of spare time, and a lot of existing parts. These cars weren’t approved by focus groups; instead, it was up to those who initially dreamed them up to prove their viability to upper management, and to convince the decision-makers to grant approval for further development and ultimately production.
In another installment of BMW explaining how the car came about, a camouflaged prototype of the M3 Touring is seen in action for the first time, being driven on a public road and on the Nürburgring (which is also technically a public road as well). The video covers how the first prototype of the M3 Touring came to be, and features Christian Karg, who is responsible for high-performance and special edition M cars. Karg explains how he and the others who worked to create the current G80 M3 and G82 M4 felt inspired to look into the possibility of an M3 Touring during testing of the M3 and M4 at BMW’s winter test center in Arjeplog, Sweden. Something tells us that, like the M4 convertible, the M3 Touring will be offered exclusively with M xDrive.
From there, it was a matter of verifying whether or not the current G21 could be adapted to accommodate the G80 M3’s running gear and powertrain. The idea wan’t exactly outside of the realm of possibility, thanks to nearly all of BMW’s current models sharing one of two underlying modular platforms, but the widened track, suspension, and axles of the M3, and how the G21 chassis could be adapted to fit them all, remained unknown. Hubert Weichselbaumer, responsible for overseeing the construction of BMW’s test vehicles, handled this aspect of the project, with the goal of building an M3 “show car” that could be presented to upper management to convince them to give the M3 Touring the green light. Things began with stripping down a decommissioned G80 M3 test mule and a G21 3 Series touring to see how the proverbial lego pieces fit together.
The story of the G81 M3 Touring is getting more interesting and compelling with each additional video BMW shares about the model. Again, the long-roof M3 almost certainly won’t be coming to the U.S., but there’s nothing wrong with taking a few minutes to dream, and it looks like the car might actually be revealed and started in the next video.—Alex Tock
[Photo and video courtesy BMW AG.]