In an ideal world, the estate would be a hugely popular kind of car. They’re stylish and much more practical than saloons, without only a minimal weight penalty. What’s not to like?
Sadly, the poor old wagon is increasingly being overlooked in favour of big, heavy and excessive SUVs. But if any car stands a chance of convincing buyers of such cars that there’s another way, it’s the new ‘G21’ BMW 3-series Touring.
The engine line-up is carried over from the very good G20 3-series saloon range. The petrol rage kicks off with the 181bhp 320i, powered by an inline-four turbo engine that also appears in the 330i. In the latter car, it’s tweaked to produce a handier 254bhp, but if that’s not enough, there’s always the 369bhp M340i Touring to consider. It’ll do 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, a drop of just a tenth relative to the saloon.
In terms of diesel engines, there’s the choice of the inline-four-powered 318d (147bhp) and 320d (187bhp), with the inline-six 261bhp 330d sitting at the top of the derv range.
The 330i and 330d can be specced with BMW’s ‘xDrive’ all-wheel drive system, while the 330d and M340i have it fitted as standard. All derivatives send their power through eight-speed automatic gearboxes - there’s no manual option here.
Compared to the old F31, the G21 is 76mm longer, 16mm wider and 8mm taller. It’ll be easier to fill it with stuff, as the load bay is now 112mm wider and 30mm higher, with the sill height dropped a little too. Boot capacity is 500 litres with all the seats up, and 1510 litres with them all down - five and 10 litres more than the old 3er wagon respectively.
As well as being ever-so-slightly more practical than the old one, it should drive a little nicer too. Like the saloon, it has wider tracks, increased negative camber and a stiffer, lighter bodyshell. The weight savings aren’t quite so dramatic, though - the saloon is a whopping 55kg lighter than the old F30, whereas the wagon has shed only 10kg. But considering it’s grown in every dimension, any drop in bulk is good going.
It’ll be sold on our shores in SE, Sport, M Sport and M Sport Plus trims later this year. Expect a small premium over the £33,610 starting price for the saloon.