Convincing the bosses
Despite a whirlwind of rumours, the BMW M3 Touring Concept stayed resolutely hidden behind the figurative felt curtain of BMW M’s secretive R&D facility until the BMW M3’s 30th anniversary in 2016. The clamour for a BMW M3 Touring only grew louder, and the new BMW M3 and M4 in early 2021 provided the perfect opportunity. But BMW’s bosses still needed convincing that the BMW M3 Competition Touring made sense.
Christian Karg (BMW M Concept Development): “I remember where it started. We were winter testing in Sweden in 2019. In the evening debrief, the idea of a BMW M3 Touring came up again. We knew we had to make more of the potential of the BMW M3 and M4, so we said: ‘Let’s think about a BMW M3 Touring’. But it was clear we needed a live vehicle – a persuader – that we could show to the decision-makers.”
Hubert Weichselbaumer (BMW M Prototype Construction): “One day, Dirk, Hans and Christian invited me for coffee. Out of nowhere, they asked me to think how we could build a BMW M3 Touring show car. There were a lot of questions. What is the goal? How will it work? How do we make it? So, we found a decommissioned BMW M3 G80 test vehicle and a BMW 3-Series Touring G21, and we started thinking how we could make the two cars into one. It was a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.”
Christian Karg (BMW M Concept Development): “In early concept work, you come across a lot of technical challenges. But the further we got into it, the clearer the picture we had of how a BMW M3 Competition Touring could look. There was a great synergy from the BMW M3 and M4: the engine and suspension; the fantastic drivetrain with M xDrive. We quickly reached a point where we had a robust concept.”
Hubert Weichselbaumer (BMW M Prototype Construction): “I was allowed to present the BMW M3 Competition Touring to BMW M management, which is a day I have fond memories of. Only Dirk, Hans, Christian and I knew about the car. But, once the management saw it, they all said that we had to make it.”
Christian Karg (BMW M Concept Development): “It was a dream come true. All the meetings and discussions you need for such a project to make sure everyone is convinced. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome. Then to see the result standing there. You get emotional.”