What's the news?
It's the sixth take on the BMW 3 Series Touring, based - as it is - on the seventh-generation of the German company's most crucial model. Here's the run-down on what we're getting in the 3 Series estate, this time around.
Visually, we could talk about the 3 Series Touring's upswept shoulder-line aft of the C-pillar, which is new, or the fact that it has improved aerodynamics compared to its predecessor, or the adoption of LED lights all round for the wagon... but really, it's the estate version of the comparative 3 Series Saloon and you should all know how this works by now. In essence, the Touring looks great, thanks to the grafting-on of extra metal at the back.
So let's talk about some of the facts of the 3 Series Touring. It has a 41mm longer wheelbase than its forebear, with wider front (+43mm) and rear (+21mm) tracks, thanks to its overall dimensions growing by 76mm (length), 16mm (width) and 8mm (height). That svelte bodywork is also 25 per cent more rigid than the shell of the old 3 Series Touring, with the chassis mounting points uprated too - in places, the new 3 Series Touring is 50 per cent less prone to flex than the outgoing car. The weight balance remains at the perfect 50:50 front-to-rear, while the rear glass of the hatch is 20mm wider than before to emphasise the Touring's stance. As a minimum, 17-inch alloy wheels will be fitted, but expect up to 19s and possibly 20s to be part of the kit list down the line.
We don't need to talk too much about the dashboard and tech of the 3 Series Touring, because it's the same stuff as the 3 Series Saloon, so read our 320d review for more detail there. We should say that the new Touring has greater shoulder space and elbowroom in the front, more legroom and comfier seats in the rear and extra headroom for all occupants. Oh, and its rear-seat bench can accommodate three child seats abreast with ISOFIX fittings, too. Practical.
The main area where a Touring differs from a 3 Series Saloon is with regards the boot. Here, it's rated at 500 litres (+5 litres on the old 3 Series Touring) with all seats in place and 1,510 litres (+10 litres) with the 40:20:40 split rear bench folded away. All models of the new Touring will get automatic tailgate operation as standard, while the separately opening rear window - a feature of BMW estates for decades now - continues. Usefully, while the volume might not have increased that much on paper, the Three's cargo bay is up to 112mm wider in places, with a loading aperture that's more generous to the tune of 125mm.
From launch, BMW will provide three petrol and three diesel engines for the Touring. Four of these are four-cylinder powerplants (two petrol, two diesel) and then there's a six-cylinder motor in each fuel type to crown things off. The 320i (184hp/300Nm, 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds, best eco-stats of 5.8 litres/100km, or 48.7mpg, with 133g/km CO2) and 330i (258hp/400Nm, 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds, 6.0 litres/100km, or 47.1mpg, 136g/km) are the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol models, with the inline-six 3.0-litre M340i xDrive Touring (374hp/500Nm, 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, 7.1 litres/100km, or 39.8mpg, 162g/km) providing the overall range flagship from the get-go.
Over with the diesels, the 318d (150hp/320Nm, 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds, 4.3 litres/100km, or 65.7mpg, 114g/km) and 320d (190hp/400Nm, 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds, 4.4 litres/100km, or 64.2mpg, 115g/km) are again the 2.0-litre models, while the 330d xDrive Touring (265hp/580Nm, 5.4 seconds, 5.4 litres/100km, or 52.3mpg, 140g/km) continues as a 3.0-litre straight-six. Both the 320d and the 330i are rear-driven as standard but can be optioned up with xDrive four-wheel drive, which slightly harms the economy and emissions, but which can improve acceleration, while gearboxes are almost all the eight-speed Steptronic auto - it's standard-fit on most cars but an option on a few lesser variants, where a six-speed manual is the norm.
BMW claims the new Touring has a 'striking increase' in dynamic sharpness, agility and handling precision, as well as optimised ride comfort. A range of chassis options will help enhance the Three, with items like M Sport suspension with a lower ride height, Adaptive M suspension, variable Sport steering, M Sport brakes and an electronically controlled M Sport differential with fully variable locking function all on the menu.
BMW has confirmed that a model of 3 Series Touring that is further out than the 2019 opening salvo is a plug-in hybrid model, scheduled for summer 2020. Whether this will be a four-cylinder drivetrain, as in the old 330e, or the new six-cylinder PHEV running gear that's been used in the X5 xDrive45e and 745e models remains to be seen.