The new BMW 3 Series Touring

May 14, 2012
Author: Evgeniy Sherstobitov
Photos: BMW
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Larger, and more spacious inside than ever before, this truly versatile vehicle possesses a wide range of practical features in addition to the class-leading driving dynamics expected of any BMW.

From the tip of the nose to the B-pillar, the 3 Series Touring is exactly the same as its Saloon brethren: an expressive front end, accentuated by the 37mm wider track over the previous generation model, creates the perfect foundation for the frontal styling.

Twin headlamps, with LED accent lights, combine with the gently forward sloping BMW kidney grille to generate a purposeful face, further highlighted by the additional outer air intakes below the headlamps and the sweeping lines of the bonnet that converge on the grille.

From the side, the new 3 Series Touring is defined by the sweeping silhouette, with its smoothly sloping roofline and glasshouse that extends to the rear of the vehicle. The new car is 97mm longer overall and 50mm longer in the wheelbase than before and that, together with the steeply raked D-pillars, angle of the rear window and the traditional ‘Hofmeister kink’, adds a real sense of forward motion to the profile.

At the rear, the spoiler ‘peak’ that accentuates the long roofline, together with the horizontal lines and L-shaped lights set far out to the edges, combine with the 48mm wider track to plant the design on the road.

The interior design of the new BMW 3 Series Touring is identical to that of the recently introduced 3 Series Saloon. It’s a cockpit with a traditional BMW driver focus creating a sporty interior ambience that is conducive to driving enjoyment. The clear, circular dials and the flatscreen monitor for the iDrive system integrated into the dashboard structure, define the instrument panel. The iDrive controller is mounted within easy reach of the driver down on the centre console. More than ever, the cabin of the new 3 Series Touring demonstrates BMW’s commitment to quality, both in the range of materials used and the way the vehicle is assembled. This strength in depth is illustrated and personalised by the large range of interior trims and upholstery materials that can be combined in different ways.

To fulfil its brief as a genuine Touring model, the new 3 Series Touring clearly needed to offer customers a broad range of practical features. However, BMW has surpassed that brief, building on the achievement of previous model generations and offering class-leading interior space as well as stand-out new features.

The foundation for the new Touring’s class-leading attributes lies with its increased exterior dimensions. From them, 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 gain larger door pocket storage areas that can accommodate a one-litre drinks bottle, complemented by two large cup holders on the centre console. These can be exchanged for a trinket tray, if so desired. With its loading sill just 620mm off the ground (and protected by a stainless steel strip) the new rear luggage area is a significant 35 litres greater in capacity than the previous generation model, at 495 litres.

As standard on all models, customers benefit from 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 luggage cover can be stored under the boot floor when removed, thereby allowing it to be carried securely on a journey if it is to be required later on. The separate partition net can be used even when the rear seats ar folded flat.

These rear seats have a 40:20:40 split, and with a large through-loading hole in the centre can accommodate 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, with a near-level load floor and a wide tail gate aperture making the loading of large items easier than ever before.

As standard equipment the new 3 Series Touring receives an electrically powered boot, controlled either via the key fob, a switch on the A-pillar or a button on the boot itself. In addition, customers can enjoy further convenience with the Smart Opener feature offered as part of the Comfort Access option. When specified, the boot can be opened with the motion of a strategically placed foot beneath the rear bumper.

The new BMW 3 Series Touring has a split rear boot opening with the upper glass area able to open independently of the overall unit. This is unlocked electrically via a button located on the rear wiper arm, and then opened manually. It is particularly convenient when loading in small items, perhaps where space behind the vehicle is limited.

Likely to be the biggest selling model, the 320d uses the highly regarded 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo diesel engine from the previous generation, but with its own set of modifications to make it both cleaner and more frugal. The common rail fuel injection – via solenoid injectors operating at up to 2,000 bar – combines with a variable geometry turbocharger (with enhanced thermodynamic properties) to produce 184hp and 380Nm of torque. It matches these outputs with a superb combined fuel figure of 60.1mpg (61.4mpg when fitted with the eight-speed automatic gearbox) and a CO2 output of 124g/km (122g/km).

With its compact, light, all-aluminium construction, this 1,997cc powerplant has a linear power delivery with superb throttle response. Maximum power is 245hp and peak torque stands at 350Nm, developed from just 1,250rpm and then held all the way to 4,800rpm. Accordingly, performance figures are suitably dramatic, with 0-62mph arriving in just six seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. Even so, the 328i has a combined fuel consumption figure of just 41.5mpg and emits only 159g/km of CO2.

From there, the 3 Series Touring customer has a broad range of model line options featuring the new Sport, Modern and Luxury, and topped by the M Sport variants.

Sport adds further dynamism to the exterior design with black kidney grille slats, in a chrome-coloured surround, and gloss black inserts in the front apron. Alloy wheels are 17-inch or 18-inch items in double-spoke design (18-inch items are bi-colour), while optional high-gloss black for the exterior mirrors and matching paintwork for the B-pillars takes the theme a stage further. Inside, red is used for the trim rings, scales in the circular dials and stitching on the sports steering wheel, while a base trim strip in high-gloss black with coral red accents underlines the sporting ambience of the cockpit. The standard sports seats can be specified in a choice of three different types of upholstery and four colours, while the ignition key features a black finish with red detailing.

Luxury possesses a more elegant, discreet appeal, with 11 chrome kidney grille slats and two slightly offset chrome trim strips in the front apron air intakes, and a high-gloss chrome trim strip running horizontally above the air scoop. In contrast to the Sport, the window frames and weather strip are trimmed in chrome; at the rear, a high-gloss chrome trim runs above the rear apron and there’s a chrome tailpipe embellisher. Unique 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels in multi-spoke design add to the visual impression. Inside, chrome elements – such as the surround for the radio and air conditioning units, and part of the ignition key – combine with high-gloss wood strips, seats with distinctive stitching and a choice of two upholstery materials in four classically elegant colours, to create an exclusive ambience.

Modern features satin-finish aluminium for the kidney grille and the double trim strips for the air intakes, complemented by 17-inch or 18-inch turbine-style alloy wheels. The light-coloured dashboard, with a steering wheel in dark oyster, works with leather upholstery or cloth-leather combinations in oyster or black. There’re a choice of three trim surfaces with accent strips in pearl-effect chrome, and a unique three-dimensional structure for the surface of the wood. The oyster-coloured ignition key features matt silver detailing.

The M Sport option features a new aerodynamic package including numerous body components and the BMW Individual High-gloss Shadowline trim. The optional exterior paint shade of Estoril Blue metallic sets the model further apart, as do the 18-inch or 19-inch M alloy wheels. Inside, features such as the M door sill finishers, an M leather steering wheel and an M driver’s footrest create the right sporting ambience, while the M Short-gearstick (in models with a manual transmission), M Sport suspension and the optional M Sport brakes with contrasting blue paint finish define the model from a technical perspective. Dakota leather covers the interior including the front sports seats, while trim elements in Aluminium Hexagon with accent strips in either Estoril Blue matt or high-gloss black add the finishing touch.

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