Vijay Pattni14 May 2012

Meet the new BMW 3 Series Touring

First came the saloon, and it was good: now meet its sensible, grown-up sibling

BMW 3 Series Touring

The new BMW 3 Series Touring offers ten litres more boot space than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate. Ten litres!

It also beats the Audi A4 Avant's piffling rear deck by five litres. That's five whole litres of extra Things you can stack into the rear of the new Three! Seats down, you're presented with 1,500 litres of storage facility.

Just three months after the BMW 3-Series saloon went on sale, comes its more sensible and practical sibling; Watson to the saloon's Holmes, if you'll permit such a tenuous analogy. BMW tells us the new 3-Series Touring is 97mm longer overall, and 50mm longer in the wheelbase than its predecessor, which translates into 17mm extra knee room and 9mm more headroom in the back. That's good. Knees and heads are quite handy to have.

Gallery: the new BMW 3 Series Touring

The boot is also electrically powered - as standard - and the upper glass area is capable of opening on its own too. If you specify the ‘Comfort Access' option and wave a strategically placed foot under the rear bumper, the boot will magically spring open. Progress!

When it hits the UK, it'll be launched with just three engine options - with more to follow - including the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel 320d, producing 184bhp and 280lb ft of torque while returning 61.4mpg, and the 2.0-litre TwinPower petrol engine in the 328i. That classic moniker in this new generation means 245bhp and a 0-62mph time of six seconds. Oh, and you get 41.5mpg too.

But underlining its Captain Sensible credentials is the range-topper - at launch anyway: the turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel 330d. It's an all-aluminium unit that produces 258bhp, 413 torques, a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed electronically restricted to 155mph. All this, and it achieves 55.4mpg and emits just 135g/km of CO2. Cake, consider yourself had and eaten.

Otherwise it's the same underpinnings as the rather excellent saloon: five-link rear axle with the option of M Sport suspension (stiffer springs and dampers, lower ride height) or Adaptive M Sport suspension (electronically controlled damping), electro-mechanical power steering and, naturally, rear-wheel-drive.

Prices start from £30,400 for the 328i Touring, and hit £34,700 for the BMW 330d Touring, and it'll arrive in the UK in September. In M Sport spec, could this be the ultimate sleeper? After all, even our very own Hammond recently admitted the new Three is the best car ever made...

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