Much like the M4 Convertible, BMW sells the M3 Touring exclusively as a Competition model with xDrive. The absence of a rear-wheel-drive variant is not a big issue since people buying wagons tend to prefer the all-weather capabilities of an AWD setup. In the case of G81, owners can still enjoy a tail-happy experience thanks to the selectable 2WD mode.
In case you’re curious about the performance gap between 4WD and 2WD, a new video shows how much time you’re losing on a track when switching from all-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive. Yes, few people will ever take the M3 Touring to a circuit but it’s interesting to see how the flick of a switch impacts performance.
YouTuber Joe Achilles took this G81 painted in Individual Frozen Portimao Blue to the Bedford Autodrome track. It’s located in the UK where nearly half of the M3s sold last year by BMW were the more practical estate body style. In The GT Circuit layout, the track is 6.12 kilometers (3.8 miles) long and has 18 turns, with the cars covering the lap in a counterclockwise direction.
The first lap was done with the M3 Touring in 4WD Sport mode and it needed 2 minutes and 38.53 seconds to cross the finish line. In the subsequent lap, the driver put the speedy wagon in 2WD mode, and took 2 minutes and 39.70 seconds to get the job done. Predictably, the long-roof BMW M car was slower (by 1.17 seconds) when power was sent strictly to the rear wheels.
Interestingly, the times recorded were virtually identical at the eighth turn, a left-hand hairpin before the long straight. The M3 Touring in 4WD Sport took 49.90 to get there and 49.91 in 2WD mode. It’s fascinating to observe the situation was reversed ahead of the 13th turn, with the wagon in 4WD Sport taking 1 minute and 33.95 seconds compared to the 2WD’s recorded time of 1 minute and 33.84 seconds. Yes, the M3 wagon in rear-wheel drive was 0.11 seconds quicker at that point.
It wasn’t until the final sector when the M3 Touring in 4WD Sport turned things around after the car danced a bit on the corners in 2WD mode. We’d reckon the gap between the two would’ve been bigger had the track been wet that day since xDrive shines on a slippery surface.
Lest we forget that BMW has an even faster G81 on the way since insiders claim an xDrive-equipped M3 CS Touring with more power and a bit less weight is coming. It’s essentially going to be a wagon variant of last year’s M3 CS Sedan but with different headlights prepared for the M3 and M4 facelift.
Source: Joe Achilles / YouTube