BMW made an M3 Touring E46 back in 2000 but only as a one-off as it wasn’t until last year that the performance wagon was launched as a series production model. The G81 has finally touched down in Australia, one of the automaker’s regional branches (along with the UK and Japan) that convinced the higher-ups from Munich to build a right-hand-drive version. In one of the first Aussie reviews of the long-awaited Audi RS4 Avant rival, the M3 with a long roof is described as “the perfect car.”
Carsales’ Scott Newman had the opportunity to sample the super wagon in a bold specification by combining a Thundernight Metallic paint with a Silverstone White Merino leather upholstery. The reviewer was left impressed with how it blends practicality with performance while offering a long list of standard equipment. All these goodies do come at a hefty price tag as BMW Australia is charging $157,600 before taxes and options, which makes it more expensive than the Audi RS4 Avant.
Although the M3 Touring got high marks, there were some negatives pointed out in the review. For example, there’s noticeable road noise caused by the 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels with meaty 275/35 ZR19 and 285/30 ZR20 tires, respectively. He also found the throttle response a bit too sharp in Sport Plus while the steering wasn’t as direct as he had hoped. In addition, the brakes felt a tad unnatural at times. However, these are minor gripes about an otherwise excellent all-rounder with an impressively powerful inline-six engine.
While the X3 M has about the same hardware and similar weight, the M3 Touring is more enjoyable by offering sharper steering thanks to a lower center of gravity. Hopefully, it’ll be the same story with next year’s M5 Touring compared to the X5 M. Getting back to its smaller sibling, Carsales’ Scott Newman says it’s one of the few cars he’d like to keep after reviewing it.
While the M3 wagon might seem like a niche model in the SUV era, it’s been a huge sales hit for BMW so far as the M division had to triple production to meet demand. That’s despite the fact the model is not sold all over the world, with North America sadly being a glaring omission.
Source: Carsales / YouTube