Drives as well as the saloon. Useful boot. Lots of tech. Still looks good to us
Perhaps not as relaxing to drive as a Mercedes C-Class or Audi A4 Avant
What is it?
To anyone who's done their 3 Series homework, the Touring brings no surprises. The front half is pretty much identical to the recently facelifted saloon, and that's absolutely no bad thing. Thankfully both the 3 and the 5 Series have avoided BMW’s controversial new design direction so far, and the smaller of the two is still a very handsome thing.
We were first shown the facelift in May 2022, which brought slimmer lights, more aggressive bumpers and BMW’s new Curved Display inside, which pairs a 12.3-inch dial display with a 14.9-inch central infotainment screen and merges them into one widescreen unit.
Hang on, what about the back end?
Ah yes – the important end. Towards the rear, the designers of this seventh-gen G21 took on the same mission as with the saloon – don't just clone'n'shrink a 5 Series – but use a different technique. Where previous 3 Serie Tourings took the window line and simply extended it level, here the lower line of the glass angles upward behind the door. That makes, in effect, the biggest-ever Hofmeister kink. It also gives the design some forward-aiming dynamism.
In the UK we get the choice of Sport and M Sport trims, with the former getting a clean, body-coloured rear end while the latter gets a fair bit of black plastic designed to look like a diffuser.
The Touring is better, right?
The estate remains the same length as the contemporary saloon. Although of course they both grew for this latest generation. The added length is less than the length of a credit card over the previous F30 and F31, but it's more about crash safety than interior space, which hasn't seen much benefit.
The handsome Touring shape encloses 500 litres of boot (or 410 litres if you want a plug-in hybrid), which is about par among the style-led premium wagons, but visibly less than, say, the Volkswagen Passat. Still, the 3 Series has some neat mechanisms to ensure your small but perfectly formed cargo is easily loaded and well restrained.
What engines can I have?
Great question. The only standard diesel currently on offer in the UK is the 320d, which comes with a 48V mild-hybrid system and can be had in either rear- or all-wheel drive. The standard petrols (320i and 330i) are both four-cylinders and rear-wheel drive only, while the plug-in hybrid 330e gets a 12kWh battery and an electric motor paired with its four-cylinder petrol. That can also be had with BMW’s xDrive AWD system should you so desire.
We say those are the standard cars because if you want the ultimate 3 Series (that isn’t a full-fat M3 or M3 Touring) then you’ll be looking towards the M340d xDrive or the M340i xDrive. More on those over on the driving tab.
Does the 3 Series still sell in the UK?
It really does. You may think everyone wants an X3 these days, but BMW UK says that the 3 Series is still its top seller so far in 2022. It also makes up around 14 per cent of BMW’s worldwide sales.
How much will it cost me?
BMW 3 Series Touring prices start from £41,000 for a base-spec Sport trim 320i. The step up to M Sport trim means a base price of £42,250, while the M340d starts at £59,375 and the M340i at £59,735.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
If you can't find a 3 Series Touring to suit you, you've got some pretty special automotive needs. For most of us, it's all the car we could use or want.
Unless you habitually carry very tall rear-seat passengers, or really bulky cargo, or go off-road, it'll do you proud. It drives as wonderfully as the 3 Series saloon, and the breadth of ability of the M340i xDrive Touring must put the fear of God into all other carmakers.
Have your cake and eat it. The 3 Series Touring will carry a lot of cake.