There never was a BMW M3 E91 Touring, but Sam decided to wrap that wonderful S65 V8 from the E9X M3 in a Touring body to produce what could be the ultimate performance estate.
From Performance BMW. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Wipdesigns.com
Over the years (105 of them at the time of writing, in fact) BMW has built a lot of cars but, even so, it hasn’t built every iteration of every car that everyone wants and while there are some we can fully understand the lack of (like a pickup, for example), the one that always seems a little surprising is the lack of M Tourings. There have actually only ever been two M estates – the LHD-only E34 M5 Touring and the E61 M5 Touring. That’s it. Mercedes offers its C- and E-Class AMG models in wagon form and Audi has pretty much made a name for itself with its fast estates but, for whatever reason, they’ve just never been a staple part of the M catalogue.
People always seem to want them – visit a motoring forum and you’ll have members constantly bemoaning the lack of M estates and claiming that, were BMW to make one, they’d definitely buy it. Well, when BM did make the E61 M5 Touring only 1025 were sold, compared with 19,564 saloons, so clearly that didn’t work out quite as well as we might have hoped. Perhaps that’s why it’s taken BMW so long to decide to make another M Touring in the shape of the upcoming G81 M3 and while there is no doubt it’s going to be an awesome car, whether or not it will be a runaway sales success remains to be seen. Of course, not everyone will be able to afford a G81 Touring and as it’s the only M3 Touring that means that if you want another
flavour of M3 estate you’ll have to find a different solution…
Sam Everett (@sam_everett3) loves BMWs; for starters, he’s got four of them and none of them is average. There’s a heavily modded concours E46 M3, a modded E91 330d, an S 1000 RR superbike that’s been highly modified to race/track spec, and then you’ve got the E91 M3 Touring we’re looking at here, which rounds off a spectacular quartet. This lifelong passion for Bavarian metal was first fired up when he was just 18; “One day my uncle dropped me and friend off in town in his new E46 M3 and it was at that point I promised myself that one day I would buy one,” he grins. “Initially when I did buy one (my first and current one – purchased eight years ago when I was 26 years old) I was a little disappointed and underwhelmed with the straight-line performance and sound as I had come from highly tuned turbo’d cars and it was a completely different experience. But, as the weeks went on, I came to love the sound and the linear power delivery made me realise how drivable the car was and how capable and well-balanced it was, and this is where the obsession started. It made me wonder if it was this good with the current set up then could I make it better…?” he smiles and we all know the answer to that. Aside from his selection of modded BMs, Sam also owns a Renault Clio 197 that he’s built into a track car and he’s owned a string of modded hot hatches over the years, so his tastes and interests are broad and varied when it comes to cars, as evidenced by this M3 Touring.
BMW may have given us three different flavours of the awesome S65 V8-powered E9x M3, but it was the idea of a Touring that was the only thing on Sam’s mind and the lure of getting his hands on an estate incarnation was an irresistible itch that simply had to be scratched. “I had been after a converted E91 M3 for a few years but, obviously, with only a handful known of in the country they don’t really come up for sale. I seriously considered converting my 330d, but then I made contact with the owner of this one through a Facebook group when he posted pictures in a thread and then, after many months, we managed to agree on a sale. I only knew of three in the country and this one was, in my opinion, the best in terms of workmanship, mileage and the fact that straight cars were used so I wanted it,” smiles Sam so getting his hands on this particular car after months of negotiation must have been incredibly satisfying.
“The car was in Margate in Kent, similar to my E46 M3, so that meant a seven-hour train ride and then a seven-hour drive home!” he exclaims, but it’s always worth travelling for the right car and especially when it’s something as special and rare as this. “The condition was good as the owner I bought it from had only picked the car up a few months before in a poor, semi-finished state and spent a lot of time and money putting various bits right. When I bought it there was (and still is) a small list of things to get the car show-ready but it was a very nice OEM standard road-going example, and it just needs a little more work to get it perfect,” says Sam and that’s going to be something he’s definitely going to enjoy doing.
Of course, while the finished product may be incredibly impressive and looks like it drove straight out of the showroom like this, it took almost three years to complete this build and involved a monumental amount of work. “It’s a full nut and bolt M3 build using a straight 2008 E90 M3 as a donor car into a straight 2006 E91 320i,” Sam tells us. “I emphasise ‘straight’ as in not crash damaged because I believe it’s the only one in the country built with straight cars so no previous history of damage and this was important to me when buying it. The Touring was stripped and built up from a bare shell using everything from the wiring harness to the dash, seats, engine, gearbox, subframes, brakes, suspension, diff etc. and also obviously the full external M3 conversion, including the bonnet, wings, bumpers, side skirts, wheel arches, the lot,” he smiles. “A considerable amount of work has gone into the rear bumper and rear wheel arches because, of course, these cannot be bolted on; the arches had to be cut from the saloon M3 donor car and welded on and smoothed in to OE-spec, taking reference points from the saloon. This includes the flared sections of the rear bumper and, additionally, the rear bumper had to be cut halfway down the middle, plastic-welded and then smoothed onto the Touring bumper to build what is essentially an M3 Touring bumper. Importantly, the car was finished in Audi Suzuka Grey,” and it looks fantastic for it.
The quality of the work is just astonishing and the finished car looks absolutely awesome, with the combination of E91 Touring lines and M3 styling working together so well. Those looks are further enhanced by the addition of a carbon fibre front splitter and a set of genuine 359M wheels in gloss black, which contrast perfectly against the light grey bodywork. The interior, meanwhile, has also been equipped with the full complement of M3 addenda, including the seats, gauges and dash, while the rear seats were modified from the donor E90 to allow for the split/fold functionality. Much in the same way that the exterior isn’t fully stock neither is the interior, and it’s been enhanced with a few tasteful additions. These include an M Performance flat-bottom Alcantara steering wheel complete with yellow centre stripe and yellow M button, as well as a yellow start-stop button plus an M Performance gear knob and handbrake handle with Alcantara gaiters for both.
As impressive as this build is, Sam isn’t the kind of guy to buy a car and not get stuck into modding it, and he’s got plenty lined up for his BMW M3 E91 Touring. “I’ve got a few small mods planned, such as an Akrapovic exhaust to properly hear the sound of that V8 and some KW HAS suspension to keep reasonable comfort and the EDC but lower the car a little to improve looks. I would also like a carbon plenum and carbon intake and then get the car remapped to suit, more to make the most of the engine but additionally to unleash that noise” he grins. Beyond that, he’s also thinking about carbon – because why wouldn’t you? – and has plans to add some carbon interior trim, a diffuser and possibly even a carbon roof to really get this Touring as close to OE M3 spec as possible. The most important thing on Sam’s to-do list, however, is to actually enjoy the car. “Rather than going to such concours lengths as I have on my E46 M3 where I’m almost scared to drive it (sacrilege I know), my main plan was always to drive and enjoy this car,” he says with a smile and with all that V8 goodness wrapped up in that BMW M3 E91 Touring body, this is a car that is always guaranteed to put a smile on his face.
Tech Spec: BMW M3 E91 Touring
Engine & transmission:
4.0-litre V8 S65B40, BMC panel filter, Milltek cat-back exhaust system. ZF Type G six-speed manual gearbox
9×19” (front) and 10×19” (rear) 359M wheels in gloss black with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) tyres, full M3 chassis conversion including
Full respray in Audi Suzuka Grey, full M3 body conversion, carbon front splitter
Full M3 interior conversion, M Performance flat-bottom Alcantara steering wheel with yellow centre stripe and yellow M button, yellow start-stop button, M Performance gear knob and handbrake handle with Alcantara gaiters, alloy pedal set