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BMW M3 Touring Review: It's The M3 Everyone's Been Waiting For

This deserves to outsell the M3 saloon.
James Wong
James Wong
22 May 2023
The breathtaking handling of the M3 Touring makes it one of the fastest wagons you’ll ever see around a corner...
What we like:
One of the most practical sports cars money can buy
Ferocious engine with lots of potential
Well-sorted suspension
What we dislike:
Exhaust sound has bark but not much soul
At its most extreme settings, it feels too contrived

The M3 is one of the most revered nameplates in the sports car world.

Therefore, it’s understandable that BMW is very careful about where it applies it to. It’s been on coupes, convertibles and saloons - but never a load-lugging wagon.

In fact, the last time we’ve seen an M wagon was the E61 M5 Touring, which was some 16 years ago. Only 1,009 were ever built.

BMW is breaking with tradition this time, and making the fantasies of enthusiasts become reality by building the M3 Touring.

It is a car that doesn’t seem to work on paper, but is so right in practice. Given that M3s today are so adept at being used every day, it makes absolute sense as a wagon. There’s 1,510 litres of boot space if you fold down the rear seats, and as evidenced by our transportation of well over 20 bags of donations to the Salvation Army, the M3 Touring can make a pretty good impression of a delivery van. With quad exhausts and 510 hp.

The fact that it can do just about anything life can throw at it, yet also be an M3, is quite something. Behind the wheel, the M3 Touring really is quite indiscernible from its saloon sibling in the way it drives. In fact, the ZF 8-speed auto transmission which we called out as a weakness in the saloon seems to fit the M3 Touring to a tee, given its broader GT credentials and remit.

The breathtaking handling of the M3 Touring makes it one of the fastest wagons you’ll ever see around a corner, thanks also to xDrive which is standard on the Touring. Like its M3 contemporaries, you could also turn it to 2WD if you so wish to hoon.

Ride is unerringly firm but very well-damped, making undulations on the road known but not unpleasantly felt. Most passengers have nary a complaint about how the car rides, and really, this is what separates a true M car from a normal BMW. We had a M340i to drive back-to-back and it could not match the M3’s ride sophistication and plantedness.

Funny enough, I enjoyed the car the most in its most comfortable and seemingly sedate settings. It could even return reasonable fuel consumption in this mode (perhaps broaching 6km/l if you’re tepid), although the range does seem on the low side with the small 59-litre fuel tank.

My chief complaint about the car is how contrived it feels when you try to ramp up the settings, which did not really amplify the experience but rather detracted from it. In its sportiest settings, the gearbox tries to make an impression of being a dual-clutch transmission - and doesn’t quite do it well. The fakes exhaust notes from the speakers get too much, while the power delivery gets so intense that driving on the road at legal speeds just doesn’t feel as pleasurable.

Just keep it in its most benign and that’s where the M3 Touring really shows its best side. It has immense appeal, giving supercar rivalling performance in a package that’ll keep the family really happy.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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