The best independent car reviews

Manhattan machines book, out now!

Related Stories

BMW Wagons are gone, get over it

Never miss a story

Welcome (back) to the mailbag. This week, we talk about BMW wagons. They are gone. Will they come back?

Send me your questions and I may just answer one.


Mike, you got me with your April Fools joke on Instagram (sorry! – Mike). It made me sad that cars like the M3 wagon are just never going to come here.

Will BMW ever bring them back? And what about makers like Audi, who sell them now but might not later?

– Jeff


It seems many were fooled by my little joke. No, BMW did not sign me up for an allocation on an M3 Touring. But the overwhelmingly positive response tells us something, doesn’t it Jeff? Question is, does it tell enough to BMW?

Woeful Wagons

335d wagon
Heart transplants are common with BMW wagons.

The “why” of where BMW wagons went isn’t hard to figure out: they didn’t sell.

Blame the SUV.

At one point they had both 3- and 5 Series wagons, but BMW knew the end was near for their Touring cars a long time ago, and they hedged their bets for awhile by offering lower trims only. That meant 325i for the E46, 328i for the E91, and 328i/330i for the F31. Nothing wrong with those cars – check out pricing on some F31 cars. Properly equipped, they command a premium. Even some E46 cars can be had for over $20k. These are 20-year-old BMWs.

Maybe it’s because they so easily accept other forms of motivation.

Certified Beefcake

m3 wagon
An F81 would have been amazing here. For now, you can take an F31 and convert it.

While older models never sold well to the masses, perhaps you’re thinking an M3 would be different. That is, after all, a special car with a dedicated fan base. I can only offer you my verbal promise, along with many other G8X owners, that they would purchase the Touring if it were available here.

But that’s not really enough for BMW to make a case for it. They spend millions on certifying cars to sell in the United States, from crash testing, to EPA ratings, import fees and much more. Normally, regular Series cars can bear the brunt of this cost, which is why you will not find a specific crash test for any M car, aside from perhaps the new XM. They piggyback off the results of a regular BMW.

But with the M3 wagon, they would be asked to do it all just for a few thousand extra M cars sold. Remember that crash-testing a 330i is much cheaper than doing so with an M3.

Why does Europe get wagons?

I think we know cool when we see it. We also know cooler.

I will tell you from years of dealing with BMW and other auto makers that European tastes are almost always preferred to American internally. A specific example would be the US market practically begging Germany to make an F10 M5 with a stick (which we didn’t buy anyway, soooo). Europeans view manual transmissions as old, dated technology that belongs in Grandma’s Skoda, not a $100,000 BMW.

They also actually like wagons over there too, so they sell well.

What about Audi, they make a cool wagon?

audi RS 6
The Audi RS6 Avant. Yum. Photo: Audi

Audi does, in fact, make a cool wagon. So does Mercedes. I believe the issue is one of marketing.

The Audi RS 6 Avant (that’s Audi for wagon) is Oh-My-God beautiful, and I hope I get to test one some day. Audi sneaks it in because it’s based on the All-Road, a sort of lux Subaru Outback. They also have decided to keep (actually, it’s gone after this year) the A4 Avant, again under the All-Road name. No doubt its SUV-like looks help the cause.

Over at Merc, they are down to one, the E Class. Again, the basic model is the All-Terrain (man do they love to copy homework), with the E63 S Wagon the top model.

Perhaps it’s the higher price point the mid-level models have that boost stature. BMW hasn’t had a 5 Series wagon since the E61 over 12 years ago, and they’ve never made an “All-Road” version of any wagon.

Do we give up BMW wagon hope?

BMW wagon
We had our chance.

Yes. Sorry, I wish I could let you down easier Jeff.

While both Audi and Merc make wagons, they aren’t exactly setting the world on fire in terms of sales. In fact, Audi is discontinuing the All-Road after 2023. It’s already basically down to dealer supply.

It’s safe to say we had our chance. A wagon might be dynamically superior to any SUV, but it seems we’ve voted with our wallets.

You’re stuck with this from now on.

Want your car reviewed?

If you live in the tri-state area and want me to check it out, send me an email!

Support the cause

Commissions may be received for product links on this site. Help out if you can.

I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *