- Practical version of popular 3 Series has been unveiled
- Boasts more space and more technology than previous model
- Wide range of engines available; customer deliveries in September 2019
The BMW 3 Series Saloon made quite an impression when it arrived on UK shores earlier in 2019, and BMW is continuing the momentum with this: the 3 Series Touring.
Despite the shift towards crossovers and SUVs (BMW still has plenty of them to offer if you want one), the 3 Series Touring is a big seller for the German brand, with the previous model finding over 500,000 homes in its life cycle – a significant chunk of the 1.7 million sold since 1987.
The latest model is just as you’d expect it to be. Bigger, better and more modern than ever, according to BMW. It’s bigger in every direction than the old car, which should translate to generous interior space, but it’s got some tough competition from the Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, Volvo V60 and even the Peugeot 508 SW and Volkswagen Passat Estate, the latter of which offers a far, far bigger boot at 650 litres.
Is it spacious?
Let’s start with the boot. With the rear seats in place, there’s 500 litres of space – five litres more than the old car. With the rear seats folded, total space is 1,500 litres. The rear seats fold flat and split 40:20:40, and can be lowered electrically as part of an optional comfort package. This package includes extra practicality benefits like anti-slip rails across the boot floor so items don’t shift around, extra storage areas throughout the car and keyless entry. As standard though, the 3 Series Touring comes with an electric tailgate and a separately opening rear window.
In the back, BMW says there’s a bit more kneeroom, and we’ve already been impressed with the space in the back of the saloon, so it bodes well for the Touring and its higher roofline, too. Up front, things are no different from the four-door version, so it should be just as roomy and comfortable. Whether it offers quite as much room inside as the Volvo V60 remains to be seen, plus it has a bigger boot than the BMW.
What engines and trim levels are available?
No great surprises here. The 3 Series Touring will come in SE, Sport and M Sport trims, plus an M Sport Plus Edition exclusively for the UK. This features all equipment from the regular M Sport, plus the M Sport Plus Package (that can be added to the M Sport at extra cost), in addition to gloss black alloy wheels and door mirrors, a choice of three BMW Individual paint colours and unique interior trim.
The rest of the line-up comes well-equipped, with plenty of standard equipment like you’ll find in the saloon. That means all cars come with alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, LED lights and BMW’s latest infotainment system with digital dials and large central screen.
M Sport – traditionally very popular among UK buyers – models add a sportier body kit, larger wheels and a sportier feel inside with leather sports seats and a smattering of M badges, with an M-specific steering wheel.
Engines mimic the saloon’s line-up too:
- 320i – 184hp, 300Nm, 0-62mph 7.6 seconds, 44.8-48.7mpg
- 330i – 258hp, 400Nm, 062mph 5.9 seconds, 44.1-47.1mpg
- M340i xDrive – 374hp, 500Nm, 0-62mph 4.5 seconds, 37.7-39.8mpg
- 318d – 150hp, 320Nm, 8.9 seconds 0-2mph, 60.1-65.7mpg
- 320d – 190hp, 400Nm, 7.5 seconds 0-62mph, 58.9-64.mpg (plus xDrive available)
- 330d – 265hp, 580Nm, 5.4 seconds 0-62mph, 50.4-52.3mpg
The 318d and 320d diesels come with a manual gearbox as standard (automatic optionally available), while the rest of the range features an eight-speed automatic as standard.
In the middle of 2020, a plug-in hybrid 330e will join the range, using the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the 320i and an electric motor for a combined power output of 252hp. However, there’s also an XtraBoost mode available to bump power up to 292hp for 10-second bursts. BMW claims this model will return up to 122.8-156.9mpg and emit 42-52g/km of CO2. It's worth noting, however, that if you want to get anywhere near these lofty claimed fuel economy figures, the car will need to be plugged in and charging as often as possible, and driven around on electric power alone for the majority of the time. Best for use around town when you can charge at either end of your trip, then.
Is there plenty of tech and safety kit?
Absolutely. The latest 3 Series comes with a lot of equipment as standard but, as ever, you’ll be able to expand the kit list via several optional extras.
Of particular note is the firm’s latest infotainment system which combines a large widescreen central display controlled via a choice of touchscreen, rotary iDrive controller or voice control – simply by saying 'Hey BMW'. Various online services (such as weather and traffic) as well as concierge services are available, while standard sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio make up the entertainment roster.
In terms of more advanced kit, there’s a slick digital instrument display, various driver assistance technologies and standard-fit Reversing Assistant. This allows the car to reverse itself along a path you’ve just driven, but only for very short distances (up to 50m). It’s there to aid manoeuvring.
There’s a new piece of kit called Drive Recorder, which is similar to Citroen’s ConnectedCam found in the C3 supermini. It’s essentially a dash cam that you can record footage on for fun, or it’ll automatically save a clip in the event of a collision.
When can I buy one?
The new BMW 3 Series Touring will make its motor show debut in Frankfurt in September 2019, with the customer deliveries expected towards the end of that month.