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M3 towing advice

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
470
322
Surrey, UK
Now that I have a car that is capable of towing, I’m contemplating future endeavours (mostly around camping, as the tiddler gets old enough to enjoy this). I’m trying to get my head around exactly what I am and am not allowed to do, in relation to the various mass ratings.

So, the M3 has the following:

GVW - 2232 kg
GCW - 3232 kg

The V5 states:
Technical permissible maximum towable mass of trailer - 1000 kg (braked and unbraked, although the manual says anything over 750 kg needs to be braked)

I have a newer style licence with no B+E entitlement, so I’m limited to:
Vehicle MAM up to 3500 kg + trailer MAM up to 750 kg
or
Combined MAM of both vehicle and trailer not exceeding 3500 kg

The GCW of the M3 is under 3500 kg, so I’m limited by the car, rather than my licence.

I think Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) all have effectively the same meaning. I’m happy to be schooled on this, if incorrect.

So, as long as all the above is correct, here’s the query:

I gather I can tow any trailer up to 1000 kg GVW/MAM/MTPLM.

However, I was looking at a trailer tent that has a MRO of 800 kg and a MTPLM of 1050 kg (so 250 kg of extra cargo capacity). As the totals of both the vehicle and the trailer would still be under 3500 kg, would I legally be allowed to tow the trailer with a MTPLM of 1050 kg as long as I didn’t load it above 1000 kg? Or does the 1000 kg towing limit of the M3 limit the MAM/GVW/MTPLM of the trailer, even if this is not loaded up above 1000 kg?

I appreciate there are other considerations, such a tongue weight (M3 has a seemingly generous 100 kg tongue weight limit) and car to trailer weight ratio, which in this case appears irrelevant as the car is considerably heaver than the towing limit.
 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,091
1,069
Leamington
I'm tempted to say that you're over-analysing it - but I'm sure you're technically correct. Personally, I just make a mental note that 1000kg is the max and make sure the trailer is less than that in its towing configuration. That's all that really matters. I've dragged a glider trailer just under 1000kg around Europe and the Model 3 tows extremely well.
 

Traguar

Member
Jan 20, 2020
104
73
London
Question comes up alot on forums, I'm led to believe the plated weight of the trailer is what matters rather than the actual weight. In your case as the trailer is plated for 1050 and the car is rated for 1000 you would be in trouble if anyone looked close enough at the plates
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
470
322
Surrey, UK
Question comes up alot on forums, I'm led to believe the plated weight of the trailer is what matters rather than the actual weight. In your case as the trailer is plated for 1050 and the car is rated for 1000 you would be in trouble if anyone looked close enough at the plates
Having done yet more research, what I’m reading is plated weights for licensing and actual weights for vehicles. Unfortunately, there is no consensus, which for something as black and white as traffic law seems crazy.
 

UrbanSplash

Member
Nov 10, 2019
399
175
UK
It’s max plated. So max gross vehicle weight of 2265kg (M3 LR). If you’re limited to 3500kg on your license (like me), you are left with a max plated trailer of 1,235kg. But the max towing limit is 1000kg (as set by manufacturer). So that’s the limitation. Just make sure your actual trailer weight is less than 1000kg and the plate is below 1,235kg.

Ive been looking at an air opus camper with a MTPLM of 900kg. Fits nicely as I can never go over this so it’s all legal.
 
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Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
470
322
Surrey, UK
It’s max plated. So max gross vehicle weight of 2265kg (M3 LR). If you’re limited to 3500kg on your license (like me), you are left with a max plated trailer of 1,235kg. But the max towing limit is 1000kg (as set by manufacturer). So that’s the limitation. Just make sure your actual trailer weight is less than 1000kg and the plate is below 1,235kg.

Ive been looking at an air opus camper with a MTPLM of 900kg. Fits nicely as I can never go over this so it’s all legal.
That’s what I was looking at. A little aspirational at a starting price of £17k. You can get a “plate upgrade” to a MTPLM of 1050 kg, which with an M3 allows for 200 kg worth of kit, rather than the base 100 kg.
 

UrbanSplash

Member
Nov 10, 2019
399
175
UK
That’s what I was looking at. A little aspirational at a starting price of £17k. You can get a “plate upgrade” to a MTPLM of 1050 kg, which with an M3 allows for 200 kg worth of kit, rather than the base 100 kg.
Yeh it’s pretty pricey now. Not many discounts to be had either. Buying power of 2 ? :)

Plate increase might be worth it to carry bikes on too. I would anticipate range to be half the usual. It might not be a mega killer as it’s lower than the car roof. I’m tempted !
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
470
322
Surrey, UK
Yeh it’s pretty pricey now. Not many discounts to be had either. Buying power of 2 ? :)

Plate increase might be worth it to carry bikes on too. I would anticipate range to be half the usual. It might not be a mega killer as it’s lower than the car roof. I’m tempted !
Unbelievably, I’ve somehow managed to convince the bosslady to consider an Air Opus (my upcoming 40th might have swayed it). Bearing in mind we’ve just splashed out on a M3 LR, it’ll take a little while to refill the coffers, though, so into research mode I go.

If you do go for an Air Opus, I’d be interested to hear how you get on with it and the M3.
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
470
322
Surrey, UK
I’m about 50/50 on whether it comes down to actual weights or plate weights in relation to the car’s towing capacity. Clear as mud, apparently!

On the plus side, Opus will plate it at whatever you want (up to the real limit, of course), so they’d happily plate it at 1000kg to maximise storage without risk of getting done. If you change vehicle to one with a higher limit, they can provide a new plate and CoC for around £50.
 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,091
1,069
Leamington
I know this is not about reality, but paperwork and regs, but I have done a lot of towing with my car, all pulling a glider trailer. The trailer when loaded is a little over 1000 Kg. You hardly notice it’s there - very stable and the car‘s power makes light work of it. Coming back from Germany a year ago, I had brake issues on the trailer and completed the segment from Verviers in Belgium to home without trailer brakes at all. I took it easy, but didn’t notice any issues at all.
 
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