It is hard to imagine that it is 32 years on from the debut of the first BMW 3 Series Touring. And now the new edition of the five-door 3 Series promises a compelling and seamless blend of driving pleasure and functional appeal to the premium midsize class. It will go on sale in Ireland in October with an entry-level pricing for the 320d SE version from €46,900.
BMW says that the new 3 Series Touring will have latest-generation engines and new chassis technology to provide improvements in performance and handling. It adds that intelligent equipment features optimise versatility both in everyday use and on trips away. It also includes the new BMW design language, a refined interior, and innovations in control, operation, and connectivity.
The Touring matches the nose of the new BMW 3 Series saloon. Adaptive LED headlights with u-shaped daytime driving lights are standard. Central to the fresh look alongside the long bonnet, short overhangs, and long wheelbase is the extended roofline. Roof rails are part of the standard specification for all models and finished in either black matte (SE Models ) or black high-gloss shadow line (sport, M sport, and M sport plus edition ).
The rear window is around 20mm wider than on the outgoing model. All of the light functions use LEDs as standard. Elsewhere, the tailpipes from the exhaust system (a dual-pipe system on all model variants ) have a diameter of 80 or 90mm, depending on the engine fitted. The new BMW 3 Series Touring also comes as standard with a load sill cover in stainless steel.
From launch, SE and Sport customers can choose from two non-metallic colours and nine metallic shades. M Sport customers have a choice of one non-metallic and five metallic shades. The newly introduced M Sport Plus Edition is exclusively for the UK and Irish markets.
BMW says that the driver-focused cockpit design, with controls arranged to optimal ergonomic effect, helps the person behind the wheel to concentrate on the road ahead. The newly designed instrument cluster and control display form a large-surfaced screen grouping. The start/stop button for the engine is now positioned in a control panel in the centre console, where the gearshift lever or newly designed selector lever is joined by the iDrive Controller and the buttons for the driving experience control switch unit and electromechanical parking brake.
The range of standard and optional interior trim elements available for the instrument panel and centre console has been replaced almost in full. SE and Sport models come with black high gloss trim, and M Sport customers have a choice of two aluminium trims as well as a selection of modern open pore wood trims. Customers choosing the M Sport Plus Edition benefit from an exclusive aluminium fabric high-gloss trim.
The new BMW 3 Series Touring comes in three trim levels: SE, Sport and M Sport. As well as a line-specific front and rear bumper design, the SE comes with exclusive light-alloy wheels in 17-inch or optional 18-inch formats, aluminium door sill strips and LED front fog lamps. The SE model comes specified as standard with a restyled leather sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons and thumb rests.
The 3 Series Touring features newly designed seats for the driver and front passenger, while the sports seats – standard on the Sport and M Sport models – provide an even greater range of adjustment. Both the standard and the sports seats can also be specified with electric adjustment including memory function. Vernasca leather upholstery is available as standard on Sport and M Sport models with a choice of four colours and special decorative quilting and seam patterns that vary according to the equipment line.
The 3 Series Touring has larger exterior dimensions than its predecessor. It has grown by 76mm to 4,709mm in length, by 16mm to 1,827mm in width and by 11mm to 1,440mm in height. As a result, shoulder room in the front has been increased while passengers in the rear benefit from more legroom, and all occupants now enjoy extra headroom over the outgoing car. There is enough room in the rear seat unit for a row of three child seats, two of which can be locked easier into place using ISOFIX anchor points.
Automatic tailgate operation is once again included as standard on the new BMW 3 Series Touring. How far up the tailgate opens can be adjusted via the iDrive menu. The optional comfort access system allows hands-free opening and closing, too. The rear window opens separately, allowing smaller objects to be placed in the boot even if there is not enough room to open the tailgate. This handy opening mechanism for the rear window can also be operated using the radio remote control.
The boot is up to 112mm wider than its predecessor, and its loading aperture is 30mm higher and up to 125mm wider in its upper section. The loading sill is slightly lower (at 616mm ) and the step between it and the boot floor has been reduced in height from 35mm to 8mm – all of which makes it much easier to load large, heavy items of luggage.
The flexible luggage compartment cover and the boot partition net can be detached separately from one another, together with the cases they pack away into, and securely transported, in specially designed compartments underneath the boot floor.
Load capacity can be increased as required by flipping down the sections of the 40:20:40 split-folding rear backrest, either individually or as one. The maximum trailer load is 1,600kg for the new BMW 320i Touring and 1,800kg for all other model variants.
The 3 Series Touring uses a range of petrol and diesel engines with either four or six cylinders and BMW twinpower turbo in the petrol versions. The BMW 320d Touring and BMW 318d Touring models are mated to the latest-generation six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with the most recent version of the eight-speed Steptronic transmission (standard on the other model variants ) available as an option. The intelligent all-wheel-drive system is standard on the range-topping BMW M340i xDrive Touring and available as an option on the 330d xDrive and 320d xDrive models.
A plug-in hybrid drive due to join the model line-up in summer 2020 comprises a four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric drive system integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Promised provisional combined fuel consumption figures are from 1.7l/100km or 138mpg with CO2 emissions of 52-42g/km. More on one of my favourite estate cars closer to the launch date here.