Fast station wagons have long been an object of desire for automotive enthusiasts. And why wouldn't they be? After all, they combine wants like high performance with needs like cargo space in almost perfect harmony.
Yet while Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche and even Cadillac have found love and money from building high-performance wagons, BMW, surprisingly, has rarely dabbled in that space — and their M performance division has almost never done so. While the brand's Alpina connection has built its fair share of autobahn-smashing station wagons, the sole example of a fast two-box M wagon was the super-rare E61-generation M5 Touring of the early Aughts. (Unless you count the likes of the X3 M and X5 M, which, well, we'd rather not if we're talking seriously about station wagons.)
That all changes today, however, with the arrival of the all-new BMW M3 Touring — the first production BMW M3 station wagon.
The biggest advantage to choosing the M3 Touring, of course, is the ability to cram more junk in the trunk. With all five seats occupied, there's room for 17.7 cubic feet of gear in back; fold down the rear seat, and you can fit more than 53 cubic feet of stuff back there. The rear bench folds 40:20:40, too, so you can drop as much or little of the seat as needed to fit whatever you're lugging.
It also, of course, brings aesthetic benefits. While opting for the long roof version does nothing to address the Angry Birds pig face of the latest M3 / M4, it does smooth out and accentuate the car's rear half, giving it a sleeker, more aggressive profile that pulls in the gaze in a way the sedan arguably can't touch.
The M3 Touring only comes in M3 Competition form, which, for those not up on their BMW M terminology, means it packs the most powerful version of the car's turbocharged inline-six — the one making 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque — and sends that power to all four wheels through an M-tuned all-wheel-drive system (which can be switched to rear-wheel-drive for burnout fun).
Sadly, that means that the M3 Touring doesn't offer the chance to experience it with a manual gearbox; the M3 Competition powertrain is only available with an eight-speed automatic.
It shouldn't come as a shock, but the BMW M3 Touring is not planned for American consumption. After all, BMW doesn't sell any station wagons here anymore; the 3 Series wagon held out until the 2019 model year, but it's since joined the 5 Series wagon in the gone-from-our-shores club.
Approving the M3 Touring alone for the U.S. market would be cost-prohibitive, according to BMW's management; without other, less-powerful variants to share the homologation burden with (as Audi does with the RS 6 Avant and A6 Allroad, and Mercedes does with the E63 and the E 450 All-Terrain), it's simply "cost prohibitive," a BMW spokesperson told BMWBlog.
That said, if you start saving now, you might be able to afford the cost to ship one over from Germany when it becomes old enough to qualify for the 25-year import rule. In which case...see you on Bring a Trailer in 2047.
One more sip of gas for the road.