BMW M3 Touring Review 2023

Written by Andy Brady

heycar ratingGet one while you can
  • 2022
  • Estate car
  • Petrol

Quick overview


  • Sensational to drive
  • Superb interior with more space than the M3 saloon
  • It'll get more nods of approval than any SUV


  • It's going to be expensive to buy and run
  • Not actually all that practical
  • It's probably too fast, if we're honest

Overall verdict on the BMW M3 Touring

"If you're an enthusiast, the BMW M3 Touring has been a long time coming. To anyone else, it's just a really fast estate car with a hefty price tag to match. Read our full BMW M3 Touring review to find out if should be on your family car shortlist."

BMW M3 Touring Review 2023: side profile

The BMW M3 has developed a bit of a cult following as a family saloon car with the performance of a supercar. But, despite competition from Audi and Mercedes, BMW has always resisted offering an estate version in the form of an M3 Touring... until now.

We're not sure why BMW decided, after more than 30 years of M3 production, that 2022 was the right time to finally offer a BMW M3 Touring. But it's probably the most hyped car of recent times - and we can see why. In a time of strict emissions targets and the move towards electric vehicles, there's a slightly rebellious appeal to an estate car with a ludicrous amount of power and little in the way of electrification.

The only M3 Touring you can buy in Europe is badged the BMW M3 Touring Competition xDrive. 'Touring' means estate, if you hadn't already gathered, while 'Competition' is the sole trim level. 'xDrive' means it's all-wheel-drive - unlike the BMW M3 saloon (or BMW M4 coupe), you can't buy a rear-wheel-drive BMW M3 Touring.

Fear not, though, as the BMW M3 Touring is sensational to drive. The rear-biased four-wheel-drive system can be configured to suit your tastes - including disabling the front axle entirely, should you wish, turning the M3 Touring into a proper drift machine. Going sideways is positively encouraged (provided you're on a private test track, of course) - you can even get the M3 Touring with an optional drift analyser which'll rate how well you control a sideways drift.

You don't have to drive like a yob to enjoy the BMW M3 Touring, though. The steering is satisfyingly precise even at town speeds, while the suspension is firm but actually not as uncomfortable as you might expect.

A highlight, though, is the engine. It's a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol unit that's paired exclusively with an old-fashioned eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's simply impossible to catch it out - no matter which gear you're in, it's eager to build speed and will create quite a din as it does so. We're not sure we like how the M3 Touring sounds, but it certainly doesn't lack drama.

Theatricals aside, the BMW M3 Touring does everything as well as the regular BMW 3 Series. That means you get a superb cabin with BMW's excellent new dual-screen iDrive system. And it's a practical choice - certainly more so than the regular BMW M3 saloon - although family buyers might be better looking at an SUV like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

In many ways, the BMW M3 Touring is quite a difficult car to justify. Most buyers will find a BMW M340i Touring (or the BMW M340d) to be more useable day-to-day, with enough excitement and less of a concern about losing your licence every time you flex your right foot. As we touched on above, SUV alternatives will be more practical, too.

But there's something truly special about the BMW M3 Touring. Every drive feels like an occasion, while it turns heads everywhere it goes. And while it's seriously expensive (our test car was more than £100,000), it'll only be sold in limited numbers which will help used values. If you 'get' the BMW M3 Touring, it could be a seriously brilliant purchase.

Once you've decided on a BMW M3 Touring, there isn't much else to decide - apart from what colour you want and which options are worth forking out for. The M3 Touring is well equipped as standard (as you'd hope for this money) and most of the option packs are a little extravagant, so there's nothing wrong with a billy basic one in our opinion. If you're looking for a used BMW M3 Touring, the Ultimate Pack is a pretty desirable extra - if only because it cost nearly £12,000 when new and adds things like the M carbon bucket seats, heated steering wheel, laser lights and Driving Assistant Professional.

The BMW M3 Touring's direct competitors include the Audi RS4 Avant and Mercedes-AMG C63 S. We'll wait until we've driven the latter before delivering our full verdict, although its four-cylinder engine and plug-in hybrid power means many traditional petrolheads will prefer the gnarly six-cylinder BMW.

If you're in the market for a versatile performance car, you should also look at sporty SUVs like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, Jaguar F-Pace SVR and BMW X3 M Competition. And, with the BMW M3 Touring's hefty price tag, you might even want to consider a Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo...

Comfort and design: BMW M3 Touring interior

"There's a lot to like about the BMW M3 Touring's interior. The driving position is perfect, for example, while the user-friendly infotainment is perhaps the best in the business."

BMW M3 Touring Review 2023: interior dashboard

The M3 Touring doesn't necessarily feel that different inside to a regular BMW 3 Series. We don't think that's a bad thing - the 3 Series interior is spot on - but you might be a little underwhelmed if you're expecting something standout for your £80,000 plus.

Bespoke features include red accents for the M buttons on the M leather steering wheel, as well as the bright red start/stop button on the centre console. The leather-covered gear selector has an embedded M logo and stitching in BMW M colours, while there's also a BMW M headliner and interior trim strips in carbonfibre. The Merino leather-trimmed M Sport seats fitted as standard in the front of the BMW M3 Touring include multi-way electric adjustment with a memory function, and are also heated. M seat belts with a woven stripe pattern in BMW M colours are also standard.

Our test car was fitted with the optional M carbon bucket seats, which won't necessarily be to everyone's tastes. Sure, they do a brilliant job of holding you in place during enthusiastic cornering, but they're a little hardcore for what is, essentially, a family estate car. Their high bolsters make getting in and out of the M3 Touring tricky, while we suspect the standard seats will have a little more welcome padding for those longer journeys.

Just like the regular 3 Series, there's little to criticise about the BMW M3 Touring's interior finish. Even for its hefty price tag, the M3 Touring feels sufficiently special, with some neat touches adding a touch of sportiness to the cabin - the red interior highlights, for example, and some carbonfibre trim.

The BMW M3 Touring gets the same excellent Curved Display as the latest 3 Series, consisting of a central 14.9-inch infotainment screen joined by a sharp 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. 

It's one of our favourite systems on the market thanks to its fast responses and intuitive menu layouts, while you can navigate it via a click wheel positioned between the front seats. Doing so is much easier than having to lean forward and use the touchscreen, especially on the move, although it's a shame the climate control functions are now lumped into the media system. 

All BMW M3 Touring models come with a head-up display as standard, as well as wireless phone charging and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. You get a premium Harman Kardon surround system, too, for those occasions when you'd rather listen to your favourite playlist rather than the theatrical sound of the M3's twin-turbo motor.

We suspect most people will be tempted by the BMW M3 Touring just for the novelty factor rather than because they want to actually carry things. But it certainly has the edge over the saloon (or M4 Coupe) in terms of practicality.

It can carry up to 500 litres of luggage, which doesn't sound a huge amount more than the 480 litres the M3 saloon can swallow. But it's the access that makes it so much more versatile - you get a large opening with a low lip, while the rear window can be opened on its own (great for loading shopping without having to open the entire boot). Should you need more space, the rear seats split 40:20:40 and there's up to 1510 litres of luggage space with them all dropped.

In terms of dimensions, the BMW M3 Touring measures 4794mm in length, 1903mm in width and 1436mm in height.

Handling and ride quality: What is the BMW M3 Touring like to drive?

"While the amount of electronic gadgetry might make you think you're driving a Playstation, there's no denying that the BMW M3 Touring is a serious, grown-up performance car. Not only is it brutally quick, but its sensationally direct steering and incredible cornering composure mean it feels every bit the race car for the road. One that just so happens to have space for a labrador..."

BMW M3 Touring Review 2023: front dynamic

Unlike the saloon, the BMW M3 Touring is only available with all-wheel drive. And while that might upset small corners of internet forums, we have no qualms about the xDrive system in the real world.

For a start, you can fiddle with the 10-stage (yes, 10!) traction control system, and send up to 100% of the power to the rear wheels for tail-happy heroics. There's even a drift analyser feature and lap timer available as part of the M Drive Professional pack - something we wouldn't recommend playing with on the public highway.

Indeed, on public roads, we'd suggest leaving the BMW M3 Touring in its regular 4WD mode and allowing the standard-fit locking rear differential to divvy torque between the rear wheels as necessary. Unlike many fast estates (we're looking at the Audi RS4 Avant in particular), the BMW M3 Touring feels anything but one-dimensional. It's not just ludicrously fast - the steering, for example, is delightfully communicative no matter how quickly you're driving. And while you adjust the weight of the steering, there's more to it than simply 'heavy' or 'unnervingly light'.

So what about the BMW M3 Touring's ride quality? Well, don't expect a magic carpet ride. But on its staggered alloy wheels (20-inch at the rear; 19-inch at the front), with the adaptive suspension left in comfort mode, it feels compliant enough for bumpy rural roads. Selecting 'sport' firms things up noticeably, but most drivers will be having so much fun they won't care.

Power comes from the same 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine as the BMW M4 GT3 race car, which means it ought to be both quick and dependable. And it's certainly the former - with 510PS and 650Nm of torque, it'll sprint to 62mph in just 3.6 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph, unless you opt for the M Driver's Package (which increases the top speed to 174mph).

Figures don't really do the BMW M3 Touring justice, though. A squeeze of the accelerator pedal will thump you forward at an alarming rate, no matter which gear you're in or where in the rev range the engine currently is. It's quite satisfying to drive a car that'll build pace towards the limiter, yet can't be caught out at low revs.

Part of this is down to the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission which is fitted as standard. It changes gears ultra quickly, while nudging the gear selector allows you to use the paddles behind the steering wheel and take control yourself. It's pretty satisfying to do so, especially as the gearbox doesn't try to take over and change gear itself in auto mode - allowing you to hit the rev limiter should you wish.

While most cars these days come with a selection of drive modes, the BMW M3 Touring offers a huge amount of adjustment via the M Setup menu. You can set up the M3 Touring's suspension to be nice and soft (or relatively so, anyway), while keeping the engine response on maximum attack. And there's no fewer than 10 stages of traction control available.

Even with the BMW M3 Touring in its softest settings, it's impossible to hide the fact that you're driving quite a focused car. There's quite a lot of drone from the tyres, for example, while the engine is willing to noisily bark into life at the slightest squeeze of the throttle.

We're not entirely convinced we like the sound of the BMW M3 Touring, either. Sure, you expect a car like this to be loud - but it all sounds a bit phoney and certainly not as tuneful as the engine used by Alfa Romeo in Quadrifoglio models.

If it's refinement you're looking for, we think the BMW M340i strikes a better compromise between comfort and performance.

As you'd hope for a family car with as much power as the BMW M3 Touring, there's quite a lengthy list of standard safety features. You get parking sensors front and rear, a front collision warning system (with brake intervention) and a lane departure warning system. There's even a useful attentiveness assistant that monitors the driver's behaviour and flags up when it's time to take a break.

The Driving Assistant pack is standard, adding lane change warning, rear crossing traffic warning and rear collision prevention functions. The optional Driving Assistant Professional, meanwhile, features active cruise control with stop&go, automatic speed limit assist and a steering and lane control assistant.

Although the BMW M3 Touring hasn't been crash tested by Euro NCAP, the regular 3 Series was awarded a maximum five stars for safety.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a BMW M3 Touring cost to run?

"Don't fool yourself into thinking the BMW M3 Touring will be cheap to run. It's a high performance wagon with running costs that'll make you wince. On the plus side, it'll hold its value well."

BMW M3 Touring Review 2023: rear dynamic

According to official WLTP tests, the BMW M3 Touring manages up to 28.0mpg. You'll have to be very disciplined to see that in the real world, though - we saw around 23.0mpg on a gentle motorway run. A cross-country blat will see that figure drop well into the teens.

It's no thirstier than rivals, though. An Audi RS4 Avant, for example, returns 28.8mpg, while an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio only manages 23.9mpg.

But it's not just fuel costs that'll be high. Budget more than £300 a corner for new tyres, while brake parts and other servicing costs will be more than a regular 3 Series Touring.

We'd expect very few reliability issues with the BMW M3 Touring. The brand generally performs well for reliability (it ranked 12th in the latest Satisfaction Index) and it has good form for making performance cars. The BMW M3 is now in its sixth generation and, although running costs will be higher than a regular BMW 3 Series, older BMW M3s are generally pretty dependable.

A company called Thatcham Research places all cars into an insurance group from one to 50 - cars in insurance group one are generally the cheapest to insure; those in group 50 are the most expensive. Unsurprisingly, considering its price and performance, the BMW M3 Touring could cost quite a lot to insure - officially, it's in insurance group 43 alongside cars like the Ford Mustang and Mercedes-AMG C43.

We'd always recommend searching around for insurance quotes before buying a new car - especially something a bit different from the norm like the BMW M3 Touring. Its high performance (and high desirability with car thieves) might make it very expensive to insure, especially if you live in an area with high crime rates or if you have a less-than-perfect driving record.

The BMW M3 Touring's relatively high CO2 emissions means the first owner will pay a hefty £2015 to the treasury in the form of the first year's VED (road tax). That forms part of the on-the-road price, though, so won't come as too much of a shock - and if you buy secondhand (or even pre-registered), that'll already have been paid.

From years two to six, BMW M3 Touring owners will pay £165 a year in tax, plus an additional £355 a year in premium car tax. That applies to all cars with a list price of more than £40,000 (apart from electric vehicles... for now). After six years, you'll pay a flat rate of £165 a year.

How much should you be paying for a used BMW M3 Touring?

"At the time of writing, you'll pay around £86,000 for a brand new BMW M3 Touring. A lengthy list of standard equipment means you won't have to go to town on the option packs but, if you do, you could soon be facing a bill of £100,000 or more."

BMW M3 Touring Review 2023: front static

Don't expect to save cash by looking for a secondhand BMW M3 Touring, either. Demand is exceeding supply which means used prices are inflated - you'll be lucky to find one with an asking price below six figures. The priciest BMW M3 Tourings we've seen are nudging £120,000. That sort of money will go quite a long way in the Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo market.

If you don't need the versatility of the BMW M3 Touring, you can buy a new BMW M3 saloon from around £81,000 or the BMW M4 coupe from a shade over £82,000. Just how keen are you to take the dog with you..?

Standard equipment on the BMW M3 Competition Touring includes staggered 19-/20-inch Jet Black alloy wheels, metallic paintwork and high-gloss black exterior highlights (including the rear spoiler, roof rails and mirror caps).

Inside, the BMW M3 Competition Touring features acoustic glass, ambient lighting and carbonfibre interior trim. Black Merino leather M sport seats are standard, heated in the front with adjustable lumbar support. An M leather steering wheel is included, as well as three-zone automatic air conditioning, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, sun protection glass and 40:20:40 folding rear seats.

Automatic windscreen wipers and headlights are standard, as well as cruise control, high-beam assist and LED rear lights. The BMW M3 Competition Touring also comes with M adaptive suspension as standard, as well as M brakes (with red calipers), M Dive Professional, an M Sport differential and the M steptronic sport transmission. You also get the Parking Assistant and Driving Assistant as standard.

Standard technology includes BMW ConnectedDrive Online Services, Bluetooth and connectivity, DAB radio and BMW's ConnectedPackage Pro (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). A Harman Kardon surround sound system is standard, as well as BMW's Live Cockpit Professional (with a 14.9-inch instrument display and 12.3-inch control display).

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

A brand new BMW M3 Touring starts from around £86,000 - a premium of £5000 over the saloon. Select a few option packs and you could soon be paying more than £100,000 for a BMW M3 Touring.
With 510PS and 650Nm of torque, the BMW M3 Touring will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph - or 174mph with the optional M Driver’s Package.
It's only in its sixth-generation of BMW M3 that the brand has launched a Touring version. Launched in 2022, the BMW M3 Touring is a high-performance estate car with bags of showroom appeal.

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