Report: BMW M3 Touring remains a possibility for Mzansi
Before getting into specifics about what the headline is meant to outline, it’s worth understanding that station wagons – as they are affectionately known in South Africa – have in the past been the bread and butter for the local market.
Think of station wagons of the olden days such as the Volvo S40, Mercedes-Benz C-Class W204 Estate, Audi A4 B5 Avant and the BMW E90 Touring among others. Considered a slowly-withering car segment locally, Audi has, however, decided to stick around with its high-performance duo namely the RS4 Avant and RS6 Avant.
Sure, with the rise of the SUV, station wagons make little sense to some. And yet, many South Africans have fallen in love with the practicality and car-like attributes these vehicles come with.
Even though the E46 M3 was supposed to become the first-ever BMW M3 Touring, it didn’t make it to the production stages when it was presented as a prototype in 2000 packing 252 kW and 365 Nm from the 3.2-litre naturally-aspirated engine. Reasons? Well, the development team had the challenge of fitting the rear axle meant for the coupe and convertible models to the M3 station wagon without compromising the boot space. Clearly, this didn’t work. Also, components such as the bonnet, front bumper, side skirts, side mirrors and wider front fenders had to be redesigned especially for the car.
Besides the tyke-ish M3, the same formula was also applied during the tenure of the E34 M5 and E61 M5 and it worked.
BMW has recently joined the fray with its newly announced M3 Touring which wields the same fighting elements as the current M3/M4 models as the first-ever high-performance touring to ever come out of Bavaria.
As initially reported, BMW SA hasn’t confirmed the M3 Touring for the South African market. Reports state that the marque is closely monitoring the market to see if bringing the model makes a viable move so the idea definitely hasn’t been scrapped.
The new M3 Touring employs the same 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol engine with 375 kW and 650 Nm sent to all wheels via the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system and an 8-speed M Steptronic with Drivelogic. The wagon dashes from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds before hitting the top speed at 250 km/h. An optional M Driver’s Package raises the limiter to 280 km/h.
In a country where stonking high-performance station wagons such as the Audi RS4 and RS6 Avants have gained a cult-following status, the M3 Touring makes absolute sense.
In the meantime, we keep our fingers crossed.