Though there have been a couple of murmurings over the years, BMW has never come up with a touring version of the latest M3. The E91 does get 'M Sport' treatment, but evidently German tuner Manhart Racing felt that this just wasn't good enough.
But rather than kidnapping the M3's V8 for the job, it has gone one step further and shoehorned in the 5.0-litre V10 from the M5. This may sound like a terrific idea, but it does rather beg the question of why you wouldn't just buy an E61 M5 touring instead.
But Manhart has an answer for that. By tweaking the ECU and adding an HJS quad-pipe stainless-steel exhaust, this M3 touring actually produces 50bhp more than the M5 touring, peaking at 550bhp. What’s more, though there are no figures for this yet, you can bet it'll weigh closer to the E91's 1580kg than the larger E61's 1955kg.
While they were raiding the M5 parts bin, Manhart's finest also brought over the 7-speed SMG gearbox and limited-slip diff, and performance figures are predictably impressive. Manhart claims 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and a 200mph top speed, which, if true, is pretty astonishing. Helping to keep all this grunt on the road, Manhart also fits the estate with Bilstein PSS10 coilover suspension and six-piston calliper brakes from Stoptech.
To complete the 'M' effect, Manhart has custom made lots of exterior bits to make the E91 looks like an M3, including a full body kit, 'powerdome' bonnet and suitable ostentatious 20-inch black alloys. Inside things are as you'd expect, with alcantara and carbon fibre strewn about merrily, and body-hugging sports seats.
With a price tag of 120,000 euros (£111,876) this does cost around £30k more than the M5 touring, but Manhart willl also fit any or all of the bits to your existing E91 if the mood takes you.