The BMW M3 Touring is the ultimate all-rounder | GRR Cars of the Year 2023

14th December 2023
Ethan Jupp

It's been an incredibly exciting year for the motoring industry. We here at GRR have driven so many brilliant cars over the past 12 months, and everything we’ve always loved is still right here, it’s just arguably better than it’s ever been. To evidence our point, we’ve pulled together nine cars that we consider to be among the very best of 2023, and we’re going to celebrate their brilliance right here at Goodwood.

It’s the answer to the cries of myriad car enthusiasts and the payoff for 20 years of dreaming. With the M3 Touring, BMW has given us everything in one spectacular package. We can have a fast, fun, special car that’s both desirable and practical. And the best thing? We don’t have to have an SUV. For that last point alone, it arguably has a huge claim to car of the decade, let alone a place among our Goodwood Road & Racing cars of the year. So its presence in these ranks was almost a given.


Of course, Mercedes, Audi and more have been putting big engines in practical cars with puffy body kits for a while. This, as much as the concept is glorious, has to be a great M car. It has to have something extra, something special, over other executive equivalents.

Happily, BMW M knows this and as such, the M3 Touring is quite the opposite of last-minute fan service. It was always a part of the plan, with proper detailed M development. That means the dynamics are bob-on, with the Touring almost benefitting in feel from the extra mass by comparison to the M3 saloon or M4.


The sheer breadth of ability of the M3 Touring is astonishing. There is much to commend its rivals about, but neither the RS4 or the C63 has the ability to wow and perform in the way that the M3 does.

Ben Miles Managing Editor, GRR

Is it a bit insular in feel by comparison to the E46s and E36s of old? Yes. The M3 has naturally grown up, almost into the shoes the M5 once wore. But that’s a good thing in more ways than it is bad.


Like in the excellent saloon, the xDrive all-wheel-drive is switchable for the ultimate in versatility. Over winter, you have a traction-rich, confidence-inspiring road jet. Yet by contrast, on track you have the option of a rear-drive tyre marmalizer.

Indeed that S58 twin-turbo straight-six engine is as much tyre-munching thug as it is a conduit for the lasting spirit of BMW’s great singing sixes of old. In short, the Touring remains the de rigueur M3 mix of ballistic and balletic. Even the silly face looks better on an estate body.

Be sure to watch the Goodwood Road and Racing Cars of the Year video when it launches on Friday 15th December.

Photography by Joe Harding.

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