BMW 3 Series Will Get a Wagon, and the M6 Gets a Stick
Anyone paying attention to BMW’s business strategy knows that the Bavarian automaker is constantly expanding and tweaking its lineup as it attempts to appeal to every possible demographic and their respective (assumed) wishes. BMW doesn’t think Americans buy wagons, so they created the ugly as sin 3 and 5 Series GTs. Want an SUV but with none of the practicality or usefulness? An X6 for you! A not so-Mini Cooper that is a two-door version of a four-door small CUV that itself is just a bigger, fatter Hardtop? I have no idea why anyone would want such a thing, but Mini makes it with the Paceman. Sometimes, though, BMW, in its quest to cover every possible margin, creates something for the people who love driving, even when they’re buying $100,000 luxury cars . That was realized this week with the announcement of a 3 Series wagon (328i xDrive Sports Wagon) and an M6 with a manual transmission.
The 2014 3 Series wagon commands a $4,600 premium over the equivalent sedan, and will likely cost at least $2,000 over the 3 Series GT when that car launches in the fall. Unlike the GT, sedan, and coupe (which all ship with at least two engine options), the wagon will likely only be available with four-wheel drive and the 240hp, turbocharged 4-cylinder. While not the best choice for hardcore BMW enthusiasts, from a survivability standpoint, this is probably the best combination available for those who would actually purchase the vehicle. And if a slightly more normal car is the price for luring potential customers away from a GT, then I’m all for it.
2013 BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible
BMW’s 6 Series was resurrected in 2003 after being absent from the market for nearly 15 years, and unfortunately was the victim of Chris Bangle’s much-maligned “flame surfacing” design language. Jeremy Clarkson once wrote, “[…]I recommend you select reverse when leaving friends’ houses so they don’t see its backside.” A couple years later, an M6 version was released, carrying with is the 5.0L V10 from the M5, and was sold with the same 6-speed manual or 7-speed SMG transmissions. The new-for-2012 M6 coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe all are powered by a twin-turbo V8 and are driven by the 7-speed dual-clutch, although that all changes for the 2014 MY, when a 6-speed manual is offered as a no-cost option. Although the car is a grand tourer (and at at least 4,200 pounds, a bit of a porker), the availability of a third pedal will make at least a few prospective owners happy. A manual is rare for any car at this price point, so the M6 joins the Aston Martin Vantage, a few Porsche 911s and Panameras, Audi R8, and a few boutique manufacturers to offer a stick.
The 328 xDrive Sport Wagon starts at $41,450 before buyers inevitable go crazy with the extensive options list. The pricing for the 2014 M6 has not been officially announced, but expect it to stay right around the $110,000 tag for the 2013 model when the car goes on sale in summer.
Photos courtesy of BMW