Touring Time With The New BMW 3 Series
It’s going to be September by the time the new BMW 3 Series Touring will be here in the UK, so there’s plenty of time to build up all your hopes, expectations and aspirations – especially as the promise that it holds is so enticing.
BMW claim that they invented the premium Touring segment back with the E30 3 Series and this one follows the same winning formula of previous BMW 3 Series Tourings over the years, but with a bigger load capacity, innovative storage options and a dynamically styled, strong but lightweight body.
There will be three engine choices available when it launches: the 328i touring, 320d and 330d with HPs of 245, 184 and 258 respectively.
From the front you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a Saloon rather than a Tourer, but from the side there is no mistaking the sweeping silhouette, with its smoothly sloping roofline and glasshouse that extends to the rear of the vehicle.
And inside the Saloon similarities continue – actually, they are identical – with clear, circular dials and the flatscreen monitor for the iDrive system integrated into the dashboard structure, and the iDrive controller within easy reach of the driver down on the centre console.
Obviously, as the whole car itself is bigger, inside there is more room, and BMW have not scrimped on space to cram every possible gadget in, realising that the Tourer is just that. In fact, the engineers have been able to improve the interior package for rear seat passengers considerably: there is now 17mm extra knee room and 9mm more headroom making ingress and egress to the rear seats is easier than ever before.
Front seat passengers have larger door pocket storage areas that can accommodate a one-litre drinks bottle (and loads of chocolate wrappers too), complemented by two large cup holders on the centre console.
The new rear luggage area is a significant 35 litres greater in capacity than the previous generation model, at 495 litres, and is also lower to the ground, the loading sill just 620mm off the ground. As standard on all models, there are luggage securing lugs, a pair of coat hooks, a luggage net and strap and a deep storage compartment on the left-hand side of the load area.
The rear seats have a 40:20:40 split, and with a large through-loading hole in the centre can accommodate a everyday objects like a number of skis or snow boards while four occupants are travelling in the car. With the seats folded, the total overall space is an outstanding 1,500 litres.
Again, as standard, the new 3 Series Touring has an electrically powered boot, controlled either via the key fob, a switch on the A-pillar or a button on the boot itself, and it’s also got a split boot opening if there’s not much space behind you..
The new BMW 3 Series Touring is powered by a choice of a petrol or two diesel powerplants, all using BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology, and later on a much wider selection of engines will be available – just like he BMW Saloons.
The 320d, probably BMW’s biggest Series 3 seller, offers 60.1 mpg and a CO2 output of 124g/km (122g/km) with the 328i 41.5mpg and 159g/km of CO2
But top dog is most defiantly the 330d model. This powerhouse “redefines smooth, frugal performance in this market segment.” The result is 258hp at 4,000rpm, and an immense 560Nm developed over a broad plateau between 1,500rpm and 3,000rpm. “Unsurprisingly, when mated to the standard 8-speed gearbox on this model, the 330d possesses some outstanding performance figures, with 62mph achieved from a standing start in only 5.6 seconds, and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. As ever, the trump card is this level of performance blended with outstanding efficiency: the 330d achieves 55.4mpg on the combined cycle, and emits just 135g/km of C02, making it a particularly clean high performance choice.”
So, as you’ve just seen – the car speaks for itself.
Coming soon will be the new 3 Series Touring range will be the 320i petrol engine producing 184hp and 270Nm torque, plus a further pair of 2.0-litre diesel engines– the 318d and 316d. The former will produce 143hp and 320Nm of torque, while the latter will have 116hp and 260Nm of torque. Fuel consumption and emissions data will follow in due course.
The 328i and 320d models come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, and the 340d an eight-speed automatic, designed to be so efficient and up to 15 per cent more efficient than the old six-speed automatic gearbox from the previous generation model. As an option you can specify a sports option for the new automatic transmission, offering more dynamic shift algorithms and gearshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
BMW’s Efficient Dynamics initiative also means the new 3 Series Touring comes as standard with the Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration and the ECO PRO function, as well as front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger and head airbags for both rows of seats.
An electromechanical power steering system is a must when steering assistance is actually required, and the new car’s system is lighter and more fuel efficient than conventional power assistance systems, as well as offering a high level of steering precision.
The list of equipment is impressive:17-inch alloy wheels and chrome exhaust pipe trim, the automatic boot opening, automatic air conditioning, the BMW Professional radio with 6.5-inch colour screen and iDrive control, keyless start, cruise control, Driver Performance Control featuring ECO PRO mode, a USB audio interface and the 40:20:40 split rear seats. The SE models add PDC front and rear, an automatic dimming mirror, two-zone air conditioning and automatic lights and wipers.
So driving promises to be a real joy, helped by what BMW have called ConnectDrive: a raft of driver assistance and mobility services that interact with each other, to the benefit of the customer. This means items like the latest full colour Heads Up display, the Lane Change and Lane Departure Warning system – which includes a collision warning system with a braking function monitored by radar and cameras – and the Active Protection Package that pre-empts a collision and readies the car’s systems.
ConnectedDrive also enables the extensive use of external mobile phones and music players, with offerings from BMW Live and BMW Online. Thanks to new Bluetooth office functions, internet-based services along with calendar entries and text messages can be viewed in the Control Display of the iDrive operating system and read out via the Text to Speech function. In addition, passengers can access their personal music library.
And, not that it encourages it on-the-go, the BMW Connected app allows the use of web radio and social networks like Facebook and Twitter in the car.
Using the My BMW Remote app, meanwhile, lets you remotely unlock and lock the car as well as control the auxiliary heating.
Finally, information and office services along with travel (RTTI traffic information is a further option) and leisure planners using the Google Maps and Panoramio services are also available.
Will you ever need to go home again or are you just going to take it with you in the shape of the new BMW Series 3 Tourer?