Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Upgrade in useable boot space
  • Some clever and unusual features
  • Plenty of space for passengers, too

The BMW 3 Series Touring isn’t the biggest estate car around – it offers almost exactly the same amount of load space as the A4 Avant and C-Class Estate, while less prestigious alternatives such as the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Octavia have far larger boots. However, BMW has ensured the space available is very intelligently deployed.

What size is the luggage compartment?

With the seats up the total boot area has grown five litres over the previous model to 500 litres. But the most easily accessible space – the part you see upon opening the tailgate, rather than including all the various tucked-away cubby holes and so forth – is actually 32 litres bigger than in the preceding 3 Series Touring.

Think about 32 litres in terms of bottles of water, and you’ll get an idea of how much more room that is. With the rear seats folded, maximum boot space is now 1,510 litres – 10 more than before.

At the same time, BMW has made the boot opening 125mm wider, squaring off the aperture for easier loading. A pop-out rear window (below), activated by the keyfob or a button on the windscreen-wiper base, makes it easy to drop in bags when there’s limited space to open the whole boot lid – and the opening this leaves is 20mm wider than before as well.

BMW 3 Series Touring (2020) pop-out boot glass

The boot lid is power operated as standard, with optional hands-free operation, and for the first time in a 3 Series Touring the load cover and passenger-protecting mesh barrier now fit in a compartment under the boot floor when not needed.

Folding the rear seats is a matter of releasing them and watching the headrest automatically tuck themselves away as the seat backs drop flat in a 40:20:40 split. This process can be power-operated at extra cost, too, an option that comes in a ‘load compartment package’ with unique new anti-slip loading rails.

These are rubber and metal strips in the boot floor; the metal makes it easy to slide heavy items in, then when you close the tailgate, the rubber centre sections automatically rise up a couple of millimetres to stop those very same items roiling around while you drive. They drop back down again when you switch off the ignition so you can easily slide the stuff back out. No rival has anything like it. Bonkers but rather clever.

What about passenger comfort?

Passengers also get a better deal in this model – especially in the rear – thanks to its modest increase in size. At 4,709mm in length, this Touring is 76mm longer than the last one, with an extra 41mm between the front and rear axles – which directly translates into more passenger space.

It’s also 16mm wider (1,827mm) and 11mm taller (1,440mm). Which means more elbow room and more headroom. The optional panoramic glass roof comes with increased headroom now, too, thanks to the way the electric blind works. A new front seat design helps keep driver and passenger comfortable on longer journeys. This is also a quiet car to travel in for the most part.

As a sportier choice, don’t be surprised to hear some carefully modulated engine noise when driving enthusiastically (and the handling is such that you can quite confidently take the tyres up to their limits; you’ll hear that coming as well), but with an acoustic glass windscreen and foam-filled windscreen pillars as standard, cruising refinement is very good indeed. Want it quieter still? Then BMW will happily sell you acoustic glass for the doors, too.

Towing capacity

This varies with model, but only by 200kg. The 320i, 330i, 318d and 320d manual are rated to tow 1,600kg with a braked trailer, while the rest of the range (including the 320d automatic) can tow 1,800kg. BMW UK reports that towbars are a very popular option on right-hand drive cars, telling you plenty about the intended use many owners have for their estate cars.

Safety

  • BMW Active Guard comes as standard
  • More safety kit can be added optionally
  • Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating

The 3 Series (in saloon form) scored the full five-star rating when tested by Euro NCAP, with a near-perfect score of 97% for adult occupant protection - a really impressive result. Scores of 87% in both child and pedestrian safety are also very strong showings, as is a 76% score for Safety Assist.

As standard, the 3 Series Touring comes with Active Guard Plus which consists of front collision warning with brake intervention and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and speed limit assist, while airbags throughout boost the safety kit count. As an optional extra, buyers can add the Driving Assistant Professional pack, which bundles together a long list of driver assistance and safety equipment:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic speed limit assist
  • Front cross-traffic alert
  • Crossroads warning and city braking function
  • Evasion aid
  • Lane-keeping assistant with active side collision protection
  • Steering and lane control assistant
  • Wrong-way warning

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the BMW 3-Series Touring.

  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Audio remote
  • Central locking
  • Cruise control
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric mirrors
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front electric windows
  • Heated seats
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Rear electric windows
  • Remote locking
  • Sat Nav
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Equipment included on some trim levels
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Metallic Paint
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats

M Sport equipment

M Sport standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
M Sport optional equipment
  • Metallic Paint

M Sport Plus Edition equipment

M Sport Plus Edition standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
M Sport Plus Edition optional equipment
  • Metallic Paint

M Sport Pro Edition equipment

M Sport Pro Edition standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
M Sport Pro Edition optional equipment
  • Metallic Paint

M340d equipment

M340d standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Metallic Paint
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
M340d optional equipment
None available

M340i equipment

M340i standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Metallic Paint
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
M340i optional equipment
None available

SE equipment

SE standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Cloth seat trim
SE optional equipment
None available

SE Pro equipment

SE Pro standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Cloth seat trim
SE Pro optional equipment
None available

Sport equipment

Sport standard equipment
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
Sport optional equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Metallic Paint

Sport Pro equipment

Sport Pro standard equipment
  • Roof rails
  • Sports seats
Sport Pro optional equipment
None available

Euro NCAP Rating – 5 stars

The BMW 3-Series Touring was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 and was awarded a 5 star overall rating. This overall rating is calculated from the following individual ratings:

5 star rating
Test 2019
Individual safety ratings
Adult Occupant: 97%
Child Occupant: 87%
Vulnerable Road Users: 87%
Safety Assist: 76%

Euro NCAP provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. The safety ratings are determined from a series of vehicle tests, designed and carried out by Euro NCAP. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants or other road users.