Video: The new M3 Touring will get the M4’s grille

26th August 2020
Bob Murray

Promising to split opinions more clearly than night and day, it’s the upcoming BMW M3 Touring. On the one hand it’s the much desired first-ever estate version of the firm’s classic performance sedan; on the other hand, it gets that grille, as this BMW Instagrammed video of the new car shows.


Even under the camo, it’s clear the kidney grilles are narrow and tall (“vertically emphasized”, as BMW puts it) rather than the wide and squat grilles we have become used to.

The new look previewed in June this year with the new 4 Series. It was thought the front-end design would be reserved for the coupe but this new video clearly shows that “Kidneygate” is set to distinguish – or blight, depending on your view – the 3 Series as well, including the long-awaited M3 Touring version.

There’s nothing quite like a BMW styling row and over the decades there have been some beauties, from the “clown shoe” Z3M to the “Bangle butt” of the first flame-surfaced 7 Series in 2001. But endowing the hallowed M3/M4 with the barn-door look promises to get enthusiasts hot under the collar like never before.

Already thousands of comments have been posted to social media following the BMW Instagram video. “No no no no no, plz no” is one. “Hope that grille is part of the camouflage” and “poor M3, with a horrendous grille” are others.

It’s all grist to the mill, however; BMW styling controversies have a habit of turning out well in the end, the vehemence of the comments a sign of how much enthusiasts care for the brand. And in any case BMW is giving us plenty of time to get used to it: the M3 Touring – the brand’s first high performance 3 Series estate in 34 years – is still two years away from the showrooms.

Bavaria’s rival for the Audi RS4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 will form part of the new sixth-generation M3/M4 family to be unveiled this coming September. Coupe and saloon are first up, then the M4 convertible next year and following that will be the first M3 five-door. Will they all get the new look? BMW is keeping us guessing on that.

BMW’s desire to separate models and inject more character into some of its offerings by a different shaped grille is understandable, however, especially at a time when premium-make grilles are tending towards the huge and generic, at the expense of brand distinctiveness. BMW’s kidney grilles used to be tall and skinny and it is classic models such as the 328, 503 and CS coupes that the firm references with the new design.

If you haven’t seen the sinister BMW M4 GT3, you really should have a look…

  • BMW

  • M3

  • M3 Touring

  • M4

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