BMW M3 Touring estate with 503bhp unveiled ahead of global debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Still has a drift mode...

BMW has unveiled the M3 Touring, marking the first time that the company’s M3 has officially appeared in estate form.

With 503bhp on tap from its six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, the M3 Touring Competition has the extra performance but there are plenty of visual cues setting it aside from the standard 3 Series estate, too.

BMW M3 Touring

From the front, the Touring gets the same toothy kidney grille treatment as seen on the M3 saloon and M4 coupé. Below the grille are twin lower intakes that channel air towards the drivetrain and brakes, while along the side the flared wheel arches, gills and extended side skirts.

Combined with the wheels — 19in up front and 20in at the rear, and finished as standard in black to match the roof — the M3 Touring has an altogether more aggressive, purposeful look.

The M3 Touring is some 85mm longer externally than the saloon, which translates into a reasonably substantial 500-litre boot when all three rear seats are in place — and a full 1,510 litres when the seats are folded down.

BMW M3 Touring

More space, however, isn’t the only key feature of the M3 Touring’s interior, with the continuation of the roll-out of the BMW Curved Display infotainment interface as seen elsewhere in the company line-up. The Curved Display consists of a 12.3in digital driver’s instrument cluster and a 14.9in multimedia screen combined into one curved screen slightly angled towards the driver. It runs the latest versions of BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant and Operating System 8.

The interior also features a few M-specific design features such as red accents on the buttons and steering wheel and little M logos throughout, with stitching and even the woven pattern on the seatbelts finished in the M colours of blue, indigo, red and white.

Although leather-trimmed sports seats (heated and multi-way adjustable) are standard, buyers will have the option of carbon-fibre bucket seats (also electric and heated), which, due to their surface cut-outs and lightweight construction, save 9.6kg over the normal seats.

Powering the M3 Touring is the same twin-turbocharged 3-litre straight-six engine seen in the saloon, developing 503bhp and a maximum torque figure of 479 ft lbs at 2,750rpm. That’s enough to propel the Touring from a standstill to 62mph in 3.6 seconds.

There’s no difference between the engine set-up found in the Touring versus the one from the saloon, with the same high-performance design to enable occasional track use including an uprated oil supply to eliminate the prospect of oil starvation during hard acceleration, braking and cornering.

BMW M3 Touring

That power is sent to the four wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic transmission that enables both automated gearchanges as well as manual shifts using the paddles behind the steering wheel. A system of changing the shift mode, known as Drivelogic, allows the driver to alter the gearchange characteristics depending on whether comfort, a sportier drive or a track blast is their priority.

The xDrive all-wheel-drive system uses a multi-plate clutch in the transfer case to help distribute the power between the front and rear wheels, though it is biased to send power towards the back. The Touring is also equipped with an active differential that variably distributes the torque between the rear wheels to ensure power gets sent to the road surface at all times, especially when the car is being driven hard or one of the wheels is experiencing a lack of grip.

The all-wheel-drive system can, however, be adjusted depending on the driver’s preferences with the option of sending power to the rear wheels alone. The traction control system is another thing that can be adjusted to the driver’s preference with the option of ten different wheel slip settings.

BMW M3 Touring

Because this is an M car, there are plenty of other changes under the skin setting this apart from a standard 3 Series estate. The bracing is enhanced for greater rigidity, for instance. The variable ratio steering is set up for more precise driver feedback. The adaptive suspension allows drivers to choose between everyday comfort and track day stiffness. The brakes are beefed up with six-pot calipers up front, while carbon ceramic brakes are an option.

For those who are particularly serious about their driving, there’s also the option of the M Drive Professional pack that allows drivers to analyse the duration, distance and angle of their drifts and which also includes a lap timer. And if the electronically-limited 155mph top speed just isn’t enough, there’s also the M Driver’s Pack that removes the limiter, allowing the M3 Touring to hit a top speed of 174mph.

Following its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 23-26), the M3 Touring will go on sale in the UK from September, with prices starting from £80,550.

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