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2000 BMW 323i Touring

Welcome to the latest installment of “Cars that Should Have Been Built, But Never Were.” Today we have the BMW “M3” Touring.

It’s one of the more ironic trends in the US auto market in recent years. Wagons are on the rise in popularity, yet manufacturers are discontinuing all of the cool ones. Wagons like the S4 Avant and the V70R Estate that appealed to enthusiasts have been phased out, in favor of 4 cylinder, automatic boredom machines, leaving enthusiasts to take matters in to their own hands.

That’s exactly what the owner of this 323iT did. By combining the best of BMW wagons with later model M3 components, it has gone from a 170bhp family hauler to a 333bhp ass hauler. With all of the right M3 parts to make this car more than just an engine swap, the owner has overlooked nothing in the completeness of this transformation.

For wagon enthusiasts and performance car lovers a like, this clean modified 323iT for sale in Chicago, IL represents the best of both worlds.

2000 BMW 323i Touring on


Have you ever dreamed of owning a BMW wagon with all the performance of an M3? If so then this is the car for you! This 2000 BMW 323it has been fully and seamlessly converted into an M3 to create the ultimate in utility and performance. Lots of time, money, and dedication were put into ensuring that no shortcuts were taken, and it shows! The body of this car has about 130,000 miles on, but don’t let the high miles worry you. Every bit of the drivetrain on this car was swapped from a 2004 M3 coupe with 55,000 miles including: 3.2L 333 hp Inline 6 engine, 6-Speed manual transmission, Full rear end (including subframe, differential and axles), Brakes/Suspension (control arms, trailing arms, links, etc.), Gauge cluster that reflects the actual drivetrain mileage, Steering wheel, Exhaust, Trunk floor sectioned in (along with mobility kit), all welds seam-sealed, HVAC/Air conditioning/Cruise control/all electrical functions work as intended.

The car has also received some factory BMW (non-M3) and aftermarket upgrades. The front fenders/hood/headlights were converted to the 2002+ facelift parts, and brought with the addition of bi-xenon headlights. The front bumper and mirrors are M3 style, and the rest of the car still maintains all original paint in great condition. The interior features trim from the ZHP model 3 series and a Whalen Shift Machine stainless steel shift knob. Currently, the car sits on FK coilover suspension and 17′ Fikse FM10 wheels. This one-of-a-kind wagon is wolf in sheep’s clothing, but still turns heads with its good looks.

This car really speaks to my inner wagon geek, as it has almost everything I’d want in a wagon (minus AWD). There is no doubt that this car was someone’s labor of love, and it shows in the attention to detail. From the driveline to the interior, this is truly a car that BMW could have built.

Like I said, I love this car and the concept behind it, but in order for me to shell out that sort of money for something like this, I’d have to go over it with a fine toothed comb, as almost everything on this car has been gone through and modified. While that sounds good, the workmanship would need to be top notch in order to command the top dollar that this car is.

When it comes to putting a price tag on something like this, it ultimately comes down to what someone is willing to pay. This car is priced right up there with the 2004 M3 from which many of its parts came from, but at the end of the day, it’s just a modified 323iT, so where should the pricing fall? With a clean 2000 323iT priced just shy of $10,000, and a 2004 M3 going for $22,000, I’d think a fair value for this car to be somewhere in the $16,000 to $17,000 arena.



  1. KevinR
    KevinR September 19, 2012

    I love the concept and agree that a potential buyer should go over it with a fine toothed comb. I’d want to talk to the person who built (or had built) the car to get first hand information.

    I am not a fan of buying a car like this from a franchised new car dealer in a big city. Used cars are just a commodity to them and they generally don’t see the difference between this modified car and a 7 year old Jetta. The asking price has to include what they paid for the car, plus overhead, plus the salesman’s commission plus the owner’s profit. As an added bonus, you have to wonder how many of their salesmen and salesmen’s buddies have flogged this thing under the guise of test driving.

    Finally, it’s a minor point, but I disagree with setting the odometer to match the drivetrain. Miles affect everything on the car, not just the engine.

    Ultimately, it will depend on what someone is willing to pay for this car. For me, it would be a lot less than the current asking price.

  2. brian
    brian September 19, 2012

    It looks like the cluster was swapped to the M3 cluster from the donor, they could have done this purely for aesthetics, but it’s possible that there are ECU and immobilizer issues that are solved with swapping the cluster. I know on a lot of other cars, the engine, ECU, and cluster work with various other systems in the car, and it 1 or several of them are not compatable, all systems fail.

  3. KevinR
    KevinR September 19, 2012

    It has been a while since I had a BMW in the stable, but I believe you are correct; there are immobilizer and ECU issues tied to the cluster. My hazy memory says that it is possible to roll miles forward on a used BMW cluster, but not backwards (at least not legitimately)

    Like I said, it’s a minor point. I think it probably could have been handled better in the ad copy.

  4. brian
    brian September 19, 2012

    agreed, but like you said before Kevin, these dealers have NO idea what they’re dealing with….this may as well be a Camry for all they know.

  5. Larry
    Larry September 19, 2012

    Love the concept, love the car. However, the value of any build like this is inherently tied to fabrication details and quality, as well as condition and care. As stated above, this is NOT the type of car a new car dealer should be selling. That probably already influenced the asking price, but more importantly, this is the type of car you want to buy directly from the owner who built it (or had it built) so you can get good answer to all your questions. The dealer will be clueless.

    The odometer reading may have been an artifact of having to use the M3 gauge cluster, but then it needs to be sold as “odometer incorrect.” Unfortunately, that will show up on the CarFax report, and could negatively impact the car’s value. As is, financing this beast could be a problem, since it would be valued as a 12-year-old 323i with 130K miles.

    I agree with Paul on this one – as incredibly cool as it is, it’s tough to justify at nearly $21K.

  6. Larry
    Larry September 19, 2012

    Obvious question (maybe an obvious answer), but why isn’t the CarFax provided? It isn’t available in the AutoTrader ad or on the dealer’s website. I’d be interested to see how the mileage discrepancy shows up, since they are advertising it as a 61K mile car. Also make me wonder about what other incidents might be listed.

  7. Tony S
    Tony S September 19, 2012

    I’ve always wanted to do this conversion myself but I’d put the proper M3 front on with the gills and flare the rear arches. I priced up the conversion closer to $30k all in so this isn’t such a bad deal.

  8. Miek
    Miek September 19, 2012

    this is nice, would buy

Comments are closed.