BMW has consistently held back several significant wagon models from the North American market, tracing back to the E30 3-Series Touring model in the 1980s. Following suit, the E36-generation 3-Series wagon also didn’t make it across the pond.
Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz took a similar stance with its W202 C-Class in the 1990s, possibly due to concerns about its European appeal conflicting with the W124 E-Class already available in the US.
The arrival of the E46 3-Series wagon in North America remains somewhat of a mystery, while Mercedes decided to offer the W203 C-Class wagon around the same time.
However, the F11-generation 5-Series Touring in 2010 and its successor, the G30 5-Series Touring in 2017, were deemed too European for the evolving tastes of US consumers, who were increasingly favoring SUVs and crossovers.
Debating which omission was most significant is subjective, but the enduring popularity of well-maintained E39 5-Series wagons speaks volumes.
Adding to the list of BMW station wagons absent from the US market is the i5 Touring, along with its gasoline-engine counterpart. BMW’s announcement that even Japan will receive these models, despite being a smaller market for the brand, might raise eyebrows. Perhaps Japan has some insights worth emulating.
The absence of the i5 Touring in the US is regrettable, especially considering its electric variant offering a potent 593-hp dual-motor setup powered by an 81.2-kWh battery. A single-motor version with 335 hp will also be available in Europe, catering to different needs.
The 5-Series Touring, if offered in the US, would provide enthusiasts with a rare commodity these days: diesel station wagons. Options like the six-cylinder 540d and the four-cylinder 520d, complete with towing capabilities, could appeal to a niche audience.
Notably, the i5 Touring isn’t the first electric wagon withheld from the US market. Volkswagen’s ID.7 Touring, unveiled last year, faces a similar fate, despite the ID.7 sedan being slated for release stateside later this year.
However, there might be a glimmer of hope for wagon aficionados in the form of a potential longroof variant of the M5 making its way to the US market. While this news should be taken with caution, it offers a glimmer of possibility for those eagerly awaiting high-performance wagons from Munich.