2000s / BMW / German

A look at the experimental BMW M3 Touring that never made it to production

We’ve been hearing rumors of a BMW M3 station wagon for three decades but they’ve never materialized. Rival Mercedes-Benz sells a long-roof variant of the AMG-tuned C-Class, but BMW has categorically refused to blend performance with practicality.

The M3 Touring came close to receiving the proverbial green light for production in the early 2000s. BMW even built a fully functional prototype before deciding to kill the project. We’ll let the company’s archives department tell its story.

“The BMW M3 Touring prototype was built because a production model was under consideration. The M3 Compact was made available to journalists for testing in order to both project an image and sound out customer interest, but the M3 Touring served entirely in-house purposes.

“This prototype allowed us to show that, from a purely technical standpoint at least, it was possible to integrate an M3 Touring into the ongoing production of the standard BMW 3 Series Touring with very little difficulty,” explained Jakob Polschak, head of vehicle prototype building and workshops at BMW M Division and an employee at the company for more than 40 years. “One important thing we needed to demonstrate was that the rear doors of the standard production model could be reworked to adapt them to the rear wheel arches without the need for new and expensive tools,” he added.

Once it had passed through the assembly line, the M3 Touring required only minimal manual follow-up work to fit the M-specific add-on parts and interior details, for example.”

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