The car that BMW never put into production

More than 800 hours of work and lots of money invested; This is the most comprehensive conversion project we've undertaken so far.

Our goal for the project: To build the car we think BMW M should have put into production.

One-of-kind BMW E46 M3 CS Touring
BMW M3 CS Touring

The car was featured in the January 2016 issue of BMW Car:
BMW Car January 2016

Specifications

- Engine:
Factory standard 2005 E46 M3 S54

- Performance:
Power: 343 PS (252 kW, 338 hp)
Torque: 365 N·m (269 ft·lbf)
Displacement: 3246 cc (198.1 cu in)
0-100 km/h (0-60 mph): 4,9 s
Top speed: >250 km/h (top speed limiter removed)

- Transmission:
Factory standard 2005 SMG II gearbox and transmission.

- Suspension:
Factory standard M3 CS/Competition suspension.
Reinforced rear subframe (Turner reinforcement plates welded onto the chassis).

- Steering:
CSL steering rack (steering ratio of 14,5:1 rather than the standard M3's 15,4:1).

- Brakes:
M3 CS/CSL brakes front and rear; 345mm CSL vented, floating discs front, CSL callipers rear.
CSL M-track mode DSC system; Originally on the CS and CSL there is only the one M track mode button on the steering wheel, but we wanted the cruise control and radio buttons. Hence, we mounted an E39 wiper stalk with intensive cleaning feature. The M track mode button is easily available on the end of the wiper stalk.

- Wheels & tyres:
Rims: M3 CS 19" BBS spin-cast wheels painted in shadow chrome, 19"x8" front and 19"x9,5" rear.
Tyres: Continental SportContact M3, 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear.

- Interior:
M3 Fully electric sports front seats with memory function on both sides, black leather.
Original 16:9 Navi professional with CD changer, radio and TV.
M3 CSL/CS Alcantara steering wheel and handbrake cover.

- Exterior:
Painted in 335 Estoril blue (House of Kolor show paint).
M3 Coupe front wings, bumper and bonnet.
M3 rear wings.
M3 rear bumper, widened and modified to fit the Touring (e.g. tailgate recess).
Glass sunroof
DiamondBrite paint sealing treatment
Climate comfort front windscreen
Rain & light sensor
Bi-Xenon headlights

The inspiration

We had long had a dream about an M3 and there was a strong desire to make something special. When we saw photos of the tucked-away prototype BMW M3 Touring, we got excited!

The concept car has been hidden away in a secret garage at BMW M GmbH in Garching, Germany and was shown to the public for the first time in March 2011.

Maybe you've seen photos of this car before? Beautiful, don't you think? Our first reaction was... We want one!
BMW M3 Touring Concept

Here's a video of the prototype M3 Touring Concept:

And here's another article: BMW BLOG - The One-Off BMW E46 M3 Touring

 

The original car

The basis for our conversion project was a 2000-model BMW 320iA Touring that we bought in 2011. The car was well maintained, had fairly low mileage, and it had most of the extras that were available on this particular model. All in all a good basis for the project.

Here's how the car looked when we bought it:
BMW 320iA Touring

The donor car

We decided to look for a fully functional donor M3 Coupe in England. After some search we found a nice 2005-model M3 CS in Leicester, which only had about 64000 miles on the counter. Of course some would say that it's a shame to take a perfectly fine M3 CS and use it for parts, but this particular car had previously had a category D accident and had been professionally rebuilt. As a former cat. D the car would never become a collector's item anyway, so we decided to use this somewhat seldom car to build a unique car.

The car drove well and had no major issues mechanically or bodywise. It was original and had lots of receipts and documentation to show the history.

Here's how it looked when we picked it up in Leicester:
M3 CS Coupe 2005

Our project partners

Due to the cost of manhours and the general price level in Norway, we decided to look for project partners in the UK and do much of the actual conversion there.
After some searching we found the company Southways Automotive Ltd in Fareham, that had done a similar conversion previously. For the bodywork we chose Kustom Kolors Ltd in Christchurch, Dorset.

You can see the detailed build thread in Facebook here
Thanks for the help guys!

Southways Automotive Ltd

 

Kustom Kolors Ltd