- 320d top choice for performance and efficiency
- Petrol mpg seems to be closing the gap on diesel
- Won’t be the cheapest choice to service or insure
While BMW is well known as a performance brand, this now goes hand-in-hand with a high level of efficiency – and the Touring is no exception.
Frugal engines are only part of the story, with the 3 Series also benefiting from some clever aerodynamics, reduced weight and eco-focused driving modes, should you choose to use them.
Diesel fuel economy
The best blend of performance and economy is the ever-popular 320d model, which returns a claimed 58.9-64.2mpg, depending on spec; this is only slightly behind the 318d, which claims 60.1-65.7mpg but has 40hp less.
Move up to a 330d, which features a 50% larger engine and two more cylinders, and you’re looking at 50.4-52.3mpg – though that is with xDrive, as figures for the rear-wheel drive model aren’t available at the time of writing (its on-sale date is slightly later than the main range).
Petrol fuel economy
On the petrol side the 320i and 330i are closely matched, claiming 44.8-48.7mpg and 44.1-47.4mpg, respectively – though they are both 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engines, despite a substantial 74hp difference in power output, so perhaps that’s not such a big surprise.
The six-cylinder turbo petrol M340i xDrive is the definite heavy drinker here, with a claimed 37.7-39.8mpg.
While these are all official figures created using the WLTP testing procedure, and therefor supposedly more real-world accurate than previous test figures, as ever your actual miles per gallon is likely to be lower.
Plug-in hybrid on sale in 2020
This generation of Touring will be the first sold as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) when the 330e model goes on sale in 2020.
Featuring the petrol engine from the 320i and a powerful electric motor built into the eight-speed automatic transmission, this is expected to have an electric range of around 40 miles and is likely to have an official fuel economy rating of over 130mpg.
It won’t suit every type of user, and the drive system eats into boot space, but if you can make maximum use of its electric capability this should prove the cheapest Touring to run.
Diesel CO2 rates range from 118g/km to 146g/km, petrol CO2 from 133g/km to 170g/km.
The 330e plug-in hybrid will be rated around 40g/km (though this is still to be confirmed at this stage).
Other costs to consider include servicing and insurance – as a premium marque, BMW isn’t the cheapest for either.
The standard warranty is three years with unlimited mileage; official extended warranties are available, which can add peace of mind if buying used.
BMW has a reasonably reputation for building reliable cars, but they can be expensive to fix if they do go wrong.
Estimated fuel cost per year
|Fuel type||Pence per litre||Estimated cost per year *|
|Unleaded||128p||£1,265 - £1,265 *|
|Diesel||131p||£931 - £1,145 *|
* The estimated fuel cost figure is based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles and is a guide to how much this model will cost in fuel each year. It's calculated using the model's average MPG (calculated from both town centre and motorway driving) and the average fuel price from around the country. Actual fuel costs will vary based on driving style and road conditions.
Highest and lowest CO2 emissions
|Engine||CO2 emissions||Road tax (12 months)|
|2.0d Diesel||115 g/km (Min)||£145|
|3.0d Diesel||142 g/km (Max)||£465|
Ongoing running costs
|Road tax (12 months)||£145 - £465|
28 - 38
How much is it to insure?
Vehicle excise duty (VED) varies according to the CO2 emissions and the fuel type of the vehicle. For cars registered before 01 March 2001 it is based on engine size. For cars registered on or after 01 March 2001 the VED or road tax is based on the car's CO2 emissions.