Tweaks make the revised BMW 3 Series Touring estate a compelling choice
4.5 out of 5
Upgrades to the BMW 3 Series Touring’s cabin have added a welcome boost in technology and interior quality to its already-excellent driving dynamics. It’s as practical as many people will ever need, and this 320d would be a terrific choice for anyone after a spacious, comfortable long-distance cruiser. We look forward to trying the BiK-busting plug-in hybrid edition in the near future.
The estate version of the 3 Series accounts for around half of the model’s sales in its native Germany, but barely 10 per cent in the UK. That’s an odd stat that’s likely to remain in place, even after the 3 Series Touring gets the same worthy updates as the saloon.
Indeed, you could argue that the 320d Touring we’re trying here makes a good case for two lost causes – the estate bodystyle, and diesel power. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine produces 187bhp and a hefty 400Nm of torque, taking the car from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds and ensuring that it can still make swift progress even when the loadbay is in full use.
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It’s a fantastic motor and one that has been cleverly installed, with little or no vibration to speak of, and barely a dull rumble coming from beneath the bonnet when you’re cruising along.
It’s beautifully paired with BMW’s eight-speed automatic gearbox, too; the transmission’s software is happy to shift up early and use the wads of torque, allowing you to make rapid progress without sending the revs beyond the powertrain’s comfort zone (it’s all done and dusted by 2,500rpm, in any case). This effortless pace and refinement plus combined fuel economy that’s north of 50mpg make you realise what a great fuel choice diesel can still be for high-mileage customers.
Car group tests
There’s still scope here for enjoyment too, since the steering and body control are every bit as well judged as they are in the saloon; heavy loads might get in the way a little, but in most scenarios you could certainly press on a bit in a 320d Touring along a fast, flowing road.
The range has been simplified a little but the kit lists are generous. Even entry-level Sport editions get BMW’s curved screen on the dash, mixing a 12.3-inch display for digital dials and a 14.9-inch infotainment system running the latest software. It benefits from having both a touchscreen and the iDrive controller.
The material upgrades have been well chosen for the facelift, with high-quality fabrics and finishes in almost all of the key areas; in this respect, the 3 Series recovers significant ground on the Mercedes C-Class.
The boot still measures a useful 500 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,500 litres when all of the 40:20:40 split is folded down. BMW’s load area also has some neat features such as rubber floor grips that rise slightly when the car is turned on, to help prevent items from sliding around on twisty roads. After spirited driving on the Bavarian test route, we can attest that they work well.
|Model:||BMW 320d Touring|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive|
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