New BMW M CEO: “Touring estates are not part of our M plan”

BMW M3 | August 29th, 2019 by 18
G81 BMW M3 Touring Render 830x553

If there is one car that the BMW M community has been dreaming for decades then it has to be the M3 Touring. The elusive sports touring has been often considered for production, but unfortunately, it only lived a short life – as a one-off.

The BMW E46 M3 Touring prototype materialized 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.

Secret BMW E46 Touring 750x500

Unfortunately for customers, the E46 M3 never made into production, even though this would have been one of the hottest sports wagons ever built.

The story repeated itself with the next generations M3. From the E92 to the F80 and now the G80, BMW has constantly looked at the market and the demand for such vehicles. Naturally, when the G80 M3 prototype started to hit the road, many customers and fans of the brand began to wonder if 2020 is the year where history will be made.

G81 BMW M3 Touring Render 830x489

Rendering Behance

In late 2018, we wrote an article on a rumor from Munich which mentioned the possibility of a G81 M3 Touring. In our many conversations with former BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel, we learned that while many engineers at M are die hard fans of the M3 Touring, a business case was hard to be made.

Never Built: BMW E46 M3 Touring

And it looks like, an M3 Touring is not in M’s future plans again. According to an interview by Car Magazine with Markus Flasch, the new M CEO, the M3 Touring would be popular in some markets, but with a low demand globally.

“Touring estates are not part of our M plan. If I asked customers in Austria, Switzerland or Germany they would probably give it the thumbs-up, but we are a global company and we have so many things to deal with on the powertrain side that we don’t go into products like this. This is what the SUVs are for.”

For now, we live in an SUV world, but hopefully in the future, with electrified M vehicles coming to market, a case could be made for a highly versatile M car with a touring shape.


18 responses to “New BMW M CEO: “Touring estates are not part of our M plan””

  1. sluggo says:

    BOLLOCKS! Estate motors are the best – CEO is a tosser

    • Marcel Lukačić says:

      Exactly! If Audi can make an RS6 for US market then BMW can make an M3 Touring as well!

      • Central Lifestyle says:

        M5 Touring would be what you mean, regardless your comment makes sense. There’s a market for it, it seems.

        • Dailybimmer says:

          It’s not that they cannot do it, it’s because there’s no such market for such a car. Such a car must bring Bmw bread on the table and obviously it doesn’t. The best example is the M5 E61 Touring, which proved to be a flop and was discontinued at the end of its production cycle. In addition, Bmw is currently cutting off some of its model variants. The most famous victim within the 3 series family is the unpopular 3 GT, which was also thrown overboard. One should ask, how many Audi RS4 Avant does Audi sells world wide at all? If you need more boot capacity than M3, then you have 3 or 4 options from Bmw.
          1. X3M
          2 X4M
          3. Alpina B3 Touring, the fastest wagon in the world in its segment.
          4. Alpina B5 Touring ( see point 3)

          • DM says:

            From an enthusiast point of view, with equal resources invested, I’d say they could’ve reaped more branding benefit by marketing an M touring over the hunchback GT. Both are ultra niche, but one adds recognition for the brand’s utility seamlessly blended with motorsport heritage while the other… adds conviction that the executive vision is blurred.

          • Dailybimmer says:

            Talking about niche and Motorsport. I think M4 GC would be a cool idea.

          • DM says:

            That would be amazing. The caveat would be that the M3 sales would be severely cannibalized.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            Like 4 GC has killed 3 Series sales. Or not.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            Given your vision, you’re the new CEO?

          • Daniela Wolf says:

            Audi had to stop taking bookings for the latest RS4 generations because their planned production numbers were reached to early. ^^
            Oh and 30 000 RS6 can’t be considerated as a fine deal.

        • Marcel Lukačić says:

          M5 Touring would be amazing as well! Both Mercedes and Audi make fast estates for EU and US market, but for some reason BMW doesn’t. Flasch probably said this at BMW M HQ:”NEIN! We won’tz make any M touring carz! Let’s make an ugly pointless M SUV(read X4M/X6M) for the sake of sales because we wantz more and more money!”

      • Dailybimmer says:

        Station wagon was yesterday. SUV’s and SAV’s are the new cool.

        • Marcel Lukačić says:

          Sorry mate but the majority of SUVs today are ostentatious, not cool. Mercedes G-Wagen, Land Rover Defender, Suzuki Jimny and Jeep Wrangler are only cool SUVs I can think of. I know they’re pointless, overpriced and terrible(new G-Wagen is good tho, it used to be terrible) but they have so much character. Fast estates will always be one of the coolest cars on the road.

          • Dailybimmer says:

            Bmw makes more money with SUV’s than with regular cars, including station wagons, which sells only in europe. That’s why there won’t be M5 Touring etc in the future.

  2. You Thana says:

    But stupid SUVs are? Makes sense.

  3. DM says:

    In a street car, the saloon is about the furthest I’d personally stray from motorsport genes.

    But I can see where an estate no longer offers as distinct of utilitarian advantage as it once did prior to the world of SUV/SAVs. Considering M GmbH has proven that they’re able to make an SAV with surprisingly agile handling dynamics (even on a circuit), the argument for an estate/touring is even weaker than it ever has been.

    But regarding “a business case”, I think those are pure excuses because… well, GT. Just goes to show that you need a Board Director’s subjective blessing to waste corporate resources on products that arguably have no business case.

    • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

      “In a steet car, the saloon is about the furthest I’d personally stray from motorsport genes.” M3? Or M5? For how many decades now? Do you have a driver’s license? Or just a keyboard? Do you know what M stands for?

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