I can’t own a BMW M3 Touring. Even if I suddenly become far wealthier than I am, the M3 Touring isn’t sold in the United States. Maybe I can buy one in 25 years when it becomes legal to import, as long as internal combustion engine cars are still legal to own. Or if we aren’t living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. However, if I could buy one, or when I do, there are some very specific things I’d like to do to my M3 Touring to make it absolutely perfect. So I’m going to share them with you, and build mentally build what I think would be the absolute perfect M3 Touring, so maybe I can provide some inspiration for an owner that wants to modify it but doesn’t quite know exactly how they want it.

Fix the Grille

First thing’s first, I gotta fix that grille. I’ve become a broken record about the M3’s grille but there’s no getting around it—it’s heinous. I was once told by big BMW fan in the industry that my opinion on the M3 doesn’t matter because I can’t afford one anyway. Well joke’s on them because I can in this hypothetical. And since this hypothetical M3 Touring is mine, the very first thing I’m doing is heading to ADRO’s website and buying their grille replacement. It makes the M3’s front end far better looking and, in my opinion, is necessary.

KW V3 coilovers

The next step is to fix both the ride and its ride height. While the M3 Competition doesn’t ride poorly, it’s just a bit too harsh and it feels like it could use some higher quality damping (though, you can say that about pretty much any new car). Also, the M3 Touring’s ride height is a bit off, as its front end is far too high but it’s back end is pretty good. So I’d get a set of KW V3 coilovers, which are the best I’ve ever used, to kill two birds with one stone. With such a setup, I could give it the exact ride height I want, while also improving the ride/handling balance.

Mild Exhaust Upgrade

I don’t hate the M3’s S58 engine noise but I don’t love it, either. It could certainly use a bit of improvement and the best sounding exhaust setup I’ve heard for the M3 is just a single midpipe upgrade. In a video from AutoTopNL awhile back, they did that very exhaust mod to their own M3 and I loved how it sounded. So that’s what I’d do.

M4 CSL’s Carbon Fiber Hood

Like the coilovers, this mod is both aesthetic and functional. Not only does the scooped hood of the M4 CSL look cooler than the stock one, it’s made from carbon fiber, so it’s lighter. While the M3 Touring is a very heavy car, and one lightweight body panel won’t make a huge difference, I’m always game to reduce some weight over the front end.

Thinner Steering Wheel

This one might not sound important but it is. BMW’s steering wheels have become so thick they feel like pythons. It’s getting absurd. One of the best things BMW did for the M5 CS—my favorite modern BMW—is remove some padding from the steering wheel. So I’d do the same, and actually go a bit further, taking quite a bit of heft out of the tiller. Then, I’d wrap it in Alcantara because why not?

3D Design Aluminum Paddles

BMW gave the M3 and M4 carbon fiber paddle shifters and, while cool, they just feel a bit too flimsy, a bit too light. They don’t feel anywhere near as premium or exciting as the paddles in, say, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Thankfully, 3D Design, one of the best BMW tuners in the world, makes absolutely lovely aluminum paddles while look and feel far better. They don’t have the clicky, tactile action of Alfa’s aluminum paddles but they’re big improvements over the stock ones.

Rear Racing Bench Seats

One of my favorite parts of my favorite modern Bimmer, the M5 CS, was its rear bucket seats. They made the inside of the cabin feel so much more special than just a plain rear bench. And while I’d love to just transfer those seats into the M3 Touring, I don’t think it’d be possible to modify them to fit (though, if it were, I’d do it). So I’d find a rear racing bench seat, of the many that are on the market, that I liked and fit it. Or maybe I’d just fit two normal racing buckets in the back. Fitting car seats in racing buckets is way cooler than a normal bench.

18-inch Wheels

Estoril Blue BMW M5 with HRE RC104 Wheels in Satin Gold

The only way to get 18 inch wheels on an M3 is to get the base model, six-speed manual sedan and they’re only on the front (19s on the back). The M3 Touring comes with staggered 19/20 inch wheels, front to back, and I’d prefer a bit more tire sidewall for added comfort I really like the HRE RC1 Series and would likely snag a set of those.

Wheel Spacers

You can’t get new wheels for a stock car and not put spacers on. Wheel spacers make a massive difference to its appearance by completely filling out the wheel arches. Otherwise, it looks like the wheels are far too sunken in. With the combination of new wheels, a lowered ride height, and wheel spacers, the M3 Touring’s stance would be absolutely perfect.

BMW Individual Color

BMW M3 Touring in Dakar Yellow

BMW offers a few pretty good colors for the M3 and M4. However, if I’m getting something as special as an M3 Touring, there isn’t a chance in hell I’m sticking with a stock color. Whether it be from the factory, a repaint, or a wrap, I’m giving my M3 Touring an iconic M color, preferably TechnoViolet or Dakar yellow, as I think the M3 Touring would look best in either of those two colors.

And There You Have It

That’s my perfect BMW M3 Touring and if I ever acquire one, that’s how I’m going to customize it. I already love the power, performance, handling, and most of the M3 Touring’s looks. For me, it just needs these tweaks to be perfect and I don’t think I’d ever need a different daily driver.