The M3 Touring, which has been in development for decades, will make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in a few weeks. Meanwhile, with the cancellation of the M5 E61, BMW is more ready to speak about the first production M wagon in more than a decade. The Australian magazine Car Expert met down with a handful of higher-ups to discuss the M3 G81 and what it required to make it happen.
BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel noted that the performance business does not often make one-offs in the broadest sense. It follows that the M3 Touring will not be a limited-edition model like the newly released M4 CSL. Instead, it will be a permanent part of the lineup and will be available beyond this generation if there is sufficient demand.
Despite the fact that the G81 has yet to be formally introduced, the M chief believes it will be a “great success” and that BMW is already seeing “massive demand.” However, gaining the metaphorical seal of approval was difficult since wagons are primarily a European business, which limited the consumer base from the start:
“The greatest problem is that a Touring idea is first and foremost a European concept – it’s not a global vehicle like the M3 or M4, it’s more or less a European concept, so you’re extremely focused on one market, which restricts your manufacturing numbers.” The demand from all of our key markets, however, was so high, with everyone clamoring for the M3 Touring.”
Separately, BMW M development head Dirk Hacker told Car Expert that since the wagon is heavier, it was incredibly difficult to achieve the same driving characteristics as the sedan. From the start, chassis engineers were instructed to make the vehicle feel like an M3 Sedan “even when fully burdened with people and baggage.”
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To that purpose, Klaus Uber, the M division’s head of driving dynamics, says, “we have left no stone unturned on this automobile.” Every detail was altered to ensure that the wagon gave the same excitement as the sedan from which it received the 285-mm wide rear tires. So much so that in a high-speed bend, the Touring is almost as swift and balanced. When it comes time to stop, optional ceramic brakes will suffice.
Klaus Uber went on to say that the roof-mounted rear spoiler is a brand-new design that has been specifically designed for the M3 Touring to provide increased downforce at the rear axle. The fast wagon also receives a custom strengthening underbody package and a suspension overhaul with revised springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars on both axles. BMW M will only offer the vehicle as a Competition variant with xDrive and an automatic gearbox, as previously rumored.
Later in June, the M3 Touring will make its international debut, picking up where the original M3 E46 Touring left off in 2000.
Car Expert is the source.