Why does BMW build and sell cars like the M3, M4, M5, and M8? Although BMW M seems to keep setting new records in terms of sales every year, the bulk of those numbers are actually M Performance models like the M340i, for example. When it comes to the legitimate M cars, they’ve never accounted for a particularly large portion of BMW’s overall deliveries, and they certainly aren’t cheap to develop. With these corporate realities in mind, how does the company justify their existence and continue developing ever faster, more capable, and more engaging M models?
As Satch once explained, the answer can be found in the remainder of the mode lineup. Although the most hardcore BMW enthusiasts have consistently taken issue with the introduction of nearly every new BMW model starting with the X5 back in 1999, models like the X5, later the X3, and now the X7, along with their respective sports activity coupe (SAC) offshoots, are strong sellers, and effectively enable BMW to chase its dreams (and ours) with BMW M GmbH. In effect, the existence and success of models like X5 enables the existence of performance models like the M3, which appeal to a much smaller—but nonetheless passionate—subset of the market.
When it comes to the upcoming M3 Touring, the question of who the model was conceived and developed for is answered by way of the same line of reasoning. In the latest installment of BMW M’s series of videos on the M3 Touring, the development and testing process of the model is explained, and Hagen Franke, who works at BMW M, says they built the car first and foremost for themselves, but also for those who appreciate the unique combination of exceptional performance end exceptional utility only found in a high-performance wagon.
In the video, Robert Pilsl, the project leader for the M3 sedan and now the M3 Touring, explains that BMW M wouldn’t bother launching the M3 Touring if it didn’t drive like an M3. Pilsl also describes the process that still lays ahead with regard to developing the tooling for M3 Touring production, because the model will be built at BMW Group Plant Munich, where the conventional M3 and 3 Series touring are manufactured.
Finally, Frank Weishar, who oversees tire development at BMW M, offers a bit of detail as it relates to the testing process the M3 Touring will face, including laps around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Before the video concludes, Weishar also says the M3 Touring will be faster than any previous wagon.—and from what Pilsl said, it sounds like the M3 Touring may be a limited-production model.
In the next video, it looks like BMW will offer a glimpse into the secret recipe of parts that sets the M3 Touring apart from the 3 Series touring upon which it is partially based.—Alex Tock
[Photo and video courtesy BMW AG.]