The load-lugging BMW M3 Touring finally gives the firm a direct rival for the Audi RS 4 Avant
4.5 out of 5
Buy used for less at Buyacar
We’ve waited a long time for an estate version of the BMW M3, but it’s been worth it, because it offers all of the dynamic prowess served up by the saloon, but with even more practicality. This ultra-fast wagon is a superb performance car that still delivers all the driver thrills you might crave, along with the usability and practicality of a family estate car. The tech on offer is great, but it’s the Touring’s wide breadth of dynamic ability that really impresses.
The new £85,165 BMW M3 Touring could be the ultimate do-everything high-performance car. It’s only available in the UK in Competition form, and it also comes exclusively with BMW’s M xDrive all-wheel drive system, while it builds on the M3 saloon’s distinctive looks.
It uses the saloon as its mechanical starting point, to which BMW M has added a collection of upgrades. These include the under-body brace from the M4 Convertible that’s bolted between the rear axle and transmission tunnel, to compensate for reduced stiffness in a body that lacks the saloon’s rear bulkhead. Front spring and damper rates have also been modified, while the rear dampers are completely new.
- Best fast family cars 2022
- Peugeot 508 SW PSE vs BMW 330e Touring: 2022 twin test review
- Mercedes C 220 d Estate vs BMW 330e Touring vs Hyundai Ioniq 5: 2022 group test review
- BMW 3 Series review
- BMW 3 Series Touring review
- BMW 330e Touring: long-term test review
- New BMW 3 Series 2022 review
- New BMW 3 Series Touring 2022 review
These upgrades are in addition to the M3 saloon’s chassis tweaks over a standard 3 Series, which includes additional bracing for the 3.0-litre straight-six engine, plus bespoke suspension and axle mountings.
All of this comes at the cost of added weight, because even with the extensive use of aluminium and forged alloy wheels, the new M3 Touring weighs 1,865kg. The engine and eight-speed automatic transmission make light work of the mass, though, and the car feels significantly lighter than the numbers suggest. The critical figures are the same as any Competition-spec M3 or M4, with 503bhp and 650Nm of torque.
Car group tests
BMW M’s xDrive all-wheel drive system delivers extra traction where required without fundamentally changing the nature of the M3 Touring’s balance. It’s one of the least intrusive four-wheel drive systems around, working seamlessly with the ESC and electronically controlled rear limited-slip diff to provide almost unbreakable traction.
The added space in the rear unlocks 500 litres of room with the rear seats up, 1,500 litres when you drop them down. The M3 Touring’s arrival also coincides with the 3 Series’ mid-life facelift, so the dashboard benefits from a pair of high-res screens integrated into a smart, curved panel.
So what’s all this like to drive? Just as fabulous as the saloon, with almost no indication there’s a huge, open load space behind you. There are myriad driver modes with variations in the engine mapping, suspension, steering and brakes, but every configuration genuinely widens the M3’s remit rather than just offering the driver different options for the sake of it.
There’s incredible urgency from the engine, with a brutal power delivery when turned right up to its most aggressive mode. This immense power is balanced by precise and responsive steering, and the car’s suspension provides superb body control without being too stiff for everyday use.
The M3 Competition Touring feels like a labour of love from BMW, primarily because that’s exactly what it is. As a result it doesn’t just feel like another derivative of an existing model, but an M car in its own right and the purest expression of the ultimate high-performance family car. It’s late to the fast estate party, but on the evidence of this first drive, the M3 Touring has put the Audi RS 4 Avant and Mercedes-AMG C 63 S in the shade.
|Model:||BMW M3 Competition Touring|
|Engine:||3.0-litre 6cyl turbo|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|
Source: Read Full Article