This is the week, people – it’s finally happening. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Thursday, the world will see the finished, production-ready M3 Touring. Having waited what feels like an eternity for the ultimate 3 Series wagon (you might say more than 20 years, given how good that original E46 concept looked), we’ll soon know every detail about the M3 estate. Which is enormously exciting.
Not least because the current G80 and G82 M3/M4 have already proved immensely impressive in every format, confounding a lot of the doubts that once existed. The M3 Touring appeals most of all, however, because M wagons just don’t happen all that often. While AMG has been churning out V8 E-Classes and C-Classes since the 20th century, and Audi isn’t far off its fifth RS4, BMW has been content with leaving its closest rivals (and Alpina) to the fast estate game. Well, until now, of course. Perhaps those cars have proved just too popular for BMW to ignore any longer, or perhaps there aren’t many opportunities left for making 510hp, straight-six estate cars. Whatever the case, there won’t be many out there bemoaning the existence of the M3 Touring. Even if there probably will be some comments about the styling.
It’s a decade and a half since the last BMW M estate, too, which is an aeon in car years – the B7-generation Audi RS4 was still on sale then. The Touring in question, of course, was the M5, and what a car it was. The M5 saloon and M6 coupe has been around for a couple of years by that point; given so few E34 M5 Tourings were made (and obviously there weren’t any E39s), the existence of an E61 with the V10 wasn’t exactly a given. The fact it happened at all looked pretty miraculous given BMW’s history.
Oh yes, and it was awesome. Packing the same sensational 507hp 5.0-litre V10, not carrying much more weight and arguably looking even better than the four-door in the process. “The big BMW has taken any doubts we had about its ultimate dynamic abilities and blasted them into the next galaxy”, read one assessment. That the Touring was admired didn’t surprise all that many. Yet in the end just 222 right-hand drive cars were made, which is a tiny number – the UK will get 100 new M4 CSLs, by way of comparison. Given how things went economically from 2007 to 2009, perhaps selling so few estate cars costing almost £70k (or more than £90,000 today) that would struggle to 20mpg shouldn’t be a surprise.
Today the M5 Touring is nothing less than an M car icon, and this one looks especially nice. Now, of course, this family of cars is well known for some fairly catastrophic issues relating to the V10 and the SMG gearbox, and it would be remiss not to mention those. Both M5 and M6 have been Brave Pills, and their fearsome reputation meant they dropped to a little more than £10k once upon a time. There will always be an element of risk.
But then some of the BMWs with the 5.0-litre V10 look even more appealing than most, and this is undoubtedly one of them. A late (2009) M5 Touring with just 59,000 miles, it’s had three owners and has never been serviced anywhere but a BMW dealer. It still has a manufacturer warranty, in fact, which is reassuring. And, well, rather more enticingly, it looks superb, Interlagos Blue and the wheels more often seen on the M6 working a treat. This one has been with its previous owner since 2015 and apparently treated to a “no-expense spared ownership” in that time – the condition supports that statement. You’ll pay for the privilege of owning such a rare and collectible M car – £38k is twice the price of some saloons with comparable miles – but cars like this are very seldom available. And imagine the M Touring excitement once BMW finally shows that M3…
SPECIFICATION | BMW M5 TOURING (E61)