BMW’s 3 Series Touring has arrived, and its nice to know that estate is as comfortable in the parkade at the local mall as it is on a racetrack.BMW’s 3 Series Touring has arrived, and it’s nice to know that this is an estate as comfortable in the parkade at the local mall as it is on a racetrack.
In the loading area, capacity is up over over the previous model by 25 dm3 to 460 dm3, and, after folding down the 60/40-split backrest, the flat floor offers 1 400 dm3 of loading space, about 40 more than the previous model.
The spacious luggage compartment offers clever storage solutions, including baggage straps, luggage nets, bag and umbrella holders, and a 12-volt power socket.
Since the 3 Series Touring rides on run flat tyres, the entire spare wheel recess can be used as an additional, watertight storage box. Also, the luggage compartment has a washable plastic sheet that extends out over the rear bumper to avoid scratches to the area. The luggage bay has a low sill for loading heavier objects and a deep cutout in the middle lowers the height of the loading sill even more to just 59 cm.
The rear window opens separately for the loading and transporting of longer or bulkier items, or even just to stow a few light parcels.
Despite its load lugging capabilities, the 3 Series Touring is also a capable and agile athlete, and enters the market with two petrol engines, a four-cylinder 2,0-litre and a straight-six 2,5-litre.
The 2,0-litre powerplant, with Valvetronic and double Vanos, is based on the powerplant found in the 320i saloon and produces peak power of 110 kW at 6 200 r/min, and maximum torque of 200 N.m at 3 600 r/min.
Acceleration from zero-to-100 km/h is in 9,4 seconds and the 320i Touring reaches a top speed of 218 km/h with an average fuel consumption of 7,6 litres per 100 km on a combined EU cycle.
The straight six has a peak output of 160 kW (19 more than the car it replaces) and maximum torque of 250 N.m maintained from 2 750 to 4 250 r/min. Using a lightweight magnesium crankcase, BMW claims its 2,5-litre to be the lightest and most powerful in the world, in its segment.
The BMW 325i Touring accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7,2 seconds. Its top speed is 243 km/h, and its fuel consumption is a fair 8,6 litres per 100 km.
Both models are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, though both can also be had with Steptronic transmission for an additional R 13 000.
Using BMW’s rear-wheel drive layout, the estate features a double-joint aluminium front axle and a five-arm rear axle for nimble sports handling on the road. While the estate’s chassis and suspension have basically been carried over from the saloon, the set-up has been adjusted to meet the requirements of an estate.
The Touring’s agility was recently demonstrated at the northern circuit of the Nürburgring, where the estate clocked lap times identical to its saloon sibling. But its sporty characteristics don’t make the estate a less luxurious family vehicle… The 3 Series Touring is jam-packed with an array of safety, comfort and convenience items.
The 3 Series Touring has classic estate design proportions, though its long front section, relatively short overhangs and squat stature give it an unmistakable sports car appearance. The large glass areas give the illusion of space when viewed from the cabin.
All the primary driving controls are either on or just behind the steering wheel, and directly in line with the driver’s line of vision. The functions on the central control panel, with information and comfort settings, are within easy reach of the front passenger. BMW’s iDrive can be specified as part of the navigation package.
The new 3 Series Touring has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and features optimised seatbelts, six airbags, including hip, thorax and curtain ‘bags, Isofix baby seat anchor points, active steering, dual halogen headlights (with a choice of bi-xenon lights), adaptive headlights, the latest DSC (dynamic stability control) and BMW’s new Trailer Stability Control.
For those who prefer their Touring to look more aggressive, BMW offers the option of a Sport package. The package adds a sports suspension, front and rear air dams with fog lamps, side sills and 17-inch light alloy wheels. On the inside, the Sport model features sports seats, an M leather sports steering wheel, M door strips and special interior trim.
320i Touring R 265 000
320i Touring Steptronic R 278 000
325i Touring R 306 000
325i Touring Steptronic R 319 000