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2023 BMW M3 Competition Touring Review Singapore

The 2023 BMW M3 Competition Touring is the first production M3 to come in this body style, and features a 3.0 litre twin turbocharged inline 6 engine with 503 bhp and 650 Nm of torque. With 500 litres of cargo space with the seats up and 1,510 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded down, making the M3 Touring more practical than the standard M3 Sedan. Featuring xdrive all wheel drive, the M3 Touring will do 0-100km/h in just 3.6 seconds.

The First of It's Name

It's actually surprising that the new BMW M3 Competition Touring is the first ever M3 Touring ever produced. It is a body style that has graced the M5 in previous generations, but has never made its way onto the M3. In fact, it's so surprising that you'd be forgiven for second guessing yourself and thinking, "Wait - haven't they made one before"? - that is until your friends reassure you that you're not wrong. The G81 M3 is indeed the very first M3 Touring ever made.

To say that the M3 Touring was a welcome addition to the BMW stable is a bit of an understatement. While motoring fans from all over the world are coming to terms with how their beloved gas guzzlers would soon have to make way for hybrids and electrics, BMW inject new life into the M3 project, almost as a way of saying, "This isn't over yet".

Not that the creation of the M3 Touring changes the hybrid and electric vehicle narrative one bit, but it somehow just feels like a really great excuse for petrolheads to get together and celebrate the fact that the M car has not been forgotten or neglected. Much like how different generations of M3s came to be known for their unique developments of their time, the G81 M3 Touring is already a legend for being the first ever M3 Touring to grace our streets.

8 Speed ZF Debuts on the M3

While most conversations about the legendary 8 speed ZF transmission are generally positively associated, BMW's decision to move the G80 / G81 M3 to the 8 speed ZF is one that has a lot to do with efficiency. It is understandable that BMW would undertake such a decision, but it is nonetheless sad to see this change as a compromise. After all, the last 3 BMW M3s have all run the rather accomplished 7 speed DCT transmission - proof that the transmission works well when it comes to performance.

That said, such efforts toward greater efficiency are not new, as seen when the F30 generation M3 made the move to the 3.0 litre turbocharged S58 engine, putting an end to the glorious run of the 4.0 litre naturally aspirated engine on the E90 generation M3. All in all though, the 8 speed still does a relatively good job, and perhaps suits the M3 Touring a little better than a DCT would, as it does make the car feel more settled when it isn't trying to rip your face off. As a car that has the ability to juggle between family hauling duties and track days, the 8 speed ZF is probably the better middle ground for day to day usage.

One Car to Rule Them All

Unlike the G80 M3 and the G82 M4, the G81 M3 Touring is likely to attract a more specific type of consumer, one that has intentions to utilise the car for everything under the sun. I guess it just so happens to help that the G81 is fundamentally well equipped to be that kind of car, possessing an extremely rare blend of top shelf performance and practicality. With the 3.0 litre turbocharged inline 6 producing 503 bhp and 650Nm of torque, the M3 Touring will do 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds, which is pretty damn near supercar territory.

The question is, would you buy an M3 Touring in place of a supercar? On one hand, the M3 Touring's combined practicality and performance make you question the need to have a separate family car and supercar. On the flip side, can a high performance sports wagon really ever substitute the attention, the status, and the panache associated with supercar ownership? It is a tough question to answer - a true first world problem.

Who Will it Appeal to?

The M3 Touring is unquestionably a special car that lives up to all the hype of being an M car, and its rare blend of performance and practicality will definitely appeal to those who potentially only want to have that one car. If like me, you enjoy the "sleeper" appearance of a sports wagon, at least alongside a low slung supercar, then you'll definitely want to give this car a second look, at least until the BMW M5 Touring comes to Singapore, if it ever does come.


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