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BMW M3 2023 review: Touring

The BMW M3 Touring is a treat to look at, and to drive

There’s no point waxing too lyrical here, because the facts surrounding the M3 Touring are more than exciting enough.

It’s a (kind of) family friendly wagon with oodles of space and practicality. It’s also an unhinged performance weapon with a thumping 3.0-litre twin-turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder engine.

And it has been years — decades, even — in the making. So, has it been worth the wait? Let’s strap in and find out.

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Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The BMW M3 Touring lists at $180,100, which isn’t chump change, and positions the wagon body shape a fair way above a regular M3 sedan.

That’s before on-road costs, of course. According to BMW’s website, putting an M3 Touring on the road in NSW will be more like $194,039 — before you start ticking option boxes.

The 'M Carbon Experience' adds $17,500, and reduces overall weight by close to 10kg through carbon bucket seats, and adds more visible carbon and even more possible headroom to fit a helmet

The 'M Carbon ceramic brakes' add another $16,500, and while there are plenty of free paint colours, you can pay up to $7000 for the 'Frozen White' paintwork.

Features 19- and 20-inch alloys and BMW’s digital 'Laserlight' headlights. Features 19- and 20-inch alloys and BMW’s digital 'Laserlight' headlights.

Our test car was finished in 'Frozen Black', a bargain at $5K.

Elsewhere, there is plenty of equipment on a stacked standard features list. 

That includes staggered 19- and 20-inch alloys, BMW’s digital 'Laserlight' headlights, and an automatic boot.

Inside, there’s a 'BMW Live Cockpit' with a 12.3-inch instrument display, a 14.9-inch central screen, a head-up display, wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a premium Harman Kardon surround sound stereo. Inside, there’s a 'BMW Live Cockpit' with a 12.3-inch instrument display, a 14.9-inch central screen, a head-up display, wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a premium Harman Kardon surround sound stereo.

Inside, there’s a 'BMW Live Cockpit' with a 12.3-inch instrument display, a 14.9-inch central screen, a head-up display, wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a premium Harman Kardon surround sound stereo.

You also get three-zone climate, leather seats, an 'Active M Differential' and 'Adaptive M Suspension', and seat heating up front.

Oh, and there is lots — lots — of performance, but we’ll come back to that shortly.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

It looks spectacular, this M3 Touring, and even more so given a) wagons are so rare, and b) proper low-riding performance wagons with massive alloys are even rarer.

That said, I expect it will be polarising – and possibly too shouty for some – but I've got to say, I like it.

It is at once sleek and swept back, and bulging and aggressive, especially at the flared wheel arches and fat exhausts poking from its diffuser-filled rump. It is at once sleek and swept back, and bulging and aggressive, especially at the flared wheel arches and fat exhausts poking from its diffuser-filled rump.

I’ve seen it described elsewhere as a bit of a sleeper, but for mine, you’d need painted-on eyes to not see there’s plenty going on with the Touring, especially one finished in the same Frozen Black paint as our test car.

It is at once sleek and swept back, and bulging and aggressive, especially at the flared wheel arches and fat exhausts poking from its diffuser-filled rump.

The M3 is a premium, if performance-focused, place to spend time. The M3 is a premium, if performance-focused, place to spend time.

Inside, it’s mostly business as BMW usual, though with more carbon-fibre elements — our vehicle was equipped with the M Carbon Experience pack — but snug-fitting seats aside, it’s a premium, if performance-focused, place to spend time.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

A performance-focused wagon is still a wagon, right? And that means there is oodles of space in the boot, though the seating choices in our test cars made the front seats less comfortable than they could, and should, be.

But first, the boot. The M3 Touring is a 4.8m-long wagon, which pays dividends when it comes to cargo. BMW says you'll find a minimum 500L of storage space, which grows to 1510L with the rear seat folded.

  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot
  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot
  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot
  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Boot

In the back, you’ll find seating for three, with the requisite ISOFIX attachment points, and with enough head and leg room to get comfortable.

But those carbon front seats are an option I wouldn’t be springing for. They arrive carved out of the rock-hard material, though with big holes throughout to reduce their overall weight, and they’re not only challenging to climb in and out of, but they’re awkward and hard to sit behind.

  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Practicality 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Practicality
  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Practicality 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Practicality

Stick with the regular seats and both rows will be happier.

 

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its engine and transmission?

The M3 Touring’s engine might well be one of the best in the business – a hard-charging 3.0-litre twin-turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder engine that produces a sizeable 375kW and 650Nm.

A hard-charging 3.0-litre twin-turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder engine that produces a sizeable 375kW and 650Nm. A hard-charging 3.0-litre twin-turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder engine that produces a sizeable 375kW and 650Nm.

That power is sent to all four wheels via BMW’s 'M xDrive' with Active M Differential, producing a sprint to 100km/h of just 3.6 seconds.

Efficiency – What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range?

Officially, you should see a claimed 10.4L/100km on the combined cycle, but as is often the case in cars with engines that tempt you to be aggressive with the accelerator, the reality can be a little different.

We saw more like 16.4L/100km, but in the big bruiser’s defence, we spent a lot of time in city and suburbs, and a lot more time standing on the accelerator.

The M3 Touring is fitted with a 59-litre tank, and will only accept 98RON premium fuel.

Range is close to 570km using the official consumption figure and around 360km using our real-world number.

Driving – What's it like to drive?

In a word? Delightful.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the easiest car in the world to daily drive. The carbon-fibre seats fitted to ours, for example, made getting in and out a slightly embarrassing challenge, and there’s a surging eagerness to the delivery of power that makes you look a little like you're showing off.

But the adaptive suspension serves up a far more comfortable ride than you might be expecting (more comfortable, in fact, than lesser, cheaper M models), making tootling around town easier and less chiropractic than I was expecting.

  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Driving 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Driving
  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Driving 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Driving
  • 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Driving 2023 BMW M3 Touring I Driving

But it’s away from the city, with its traffic and red lights, that owning the M3 Touring becomes a delight, from its potent and punchy powertrain to the thrum of its exhaust, and the EV-like immediacy of its power delivery.

This is a driver’s wagon, there’s no doubt about it, with proper seatback-pushing acceleration, direct and confident steering and enough body stiffening and bracing that you really would have no idea you’re driving a wagon when cornering.

Engage its sportiest settings, and disengage its electronic nanny systems, and you can even set to work judging your drifting skills, courtesy of the (as yet untested, honestly) 'M Drift Analyser'.

A family car like few others, then. That you can also take it to Bunnings and throw some sleepers in the back is just a very welcome bonus.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

Neither the M3 or M3 Touring have been independently crash tested to date, but it’s worth pointing out the 3 Series and 4 Series received maximum five-star scores from Euro NCAP.

Neither the M3 or M3 Touring have been independently crash tested to date, but it’s worth pointing out the 3 Series and 4 Series received maximum five-star scores from Euro NCAP. Neither the M3 or M3 Touring have been independently crash tested to date, but it’s worth pointing out the 3 Series and 4 Series received maximum five-star scores from Euro NCAP.

Standard safety kit includes AEB with pedestrian detection, active lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert.

You’ll also find six airbags on board.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

The BMW M3 Touring is covered by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, and servicing is "condition based", in that the vehicle will tell you what maintenance is required, and when.

You can prepay your service costs at the time of purchase for all BMW vehicles, covering the first five years of ownership.


The Wrap

Long live the mighty wagon. The BMW M3 Touring is treat to look at, and an even bigger treat to drive.

If you want one, act fast. We waited a long time for a wagon-shaped M3, and with electrification increasing in the automotive industry, this will likely be your last chance.

Likes

Brutal acceleration
Surprisingly compliant in the city
Boot space for days

Dislikes

Carbon pack a little (a lot) silly
Thirsty as all get out
Design a little polarising (though I like it)

Scores

Andrew:

4

The Kids:

4

$180,100

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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