On its way to South African garages, the new BMW 3 Series Touring will receive its official début at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. With ample space and legendary BMW performance, this may be the mom's taxi to beat at the traffic lights.

On its way to South African garages, the new BMW 3 Series Touring will receive its official début at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. With ample space and legendary BMW performance, this may be the mom's taxi to beat at the traffic lights.

The new Touring, which will go on sale here towards the end of 2005 or early in 2006, has strong visual links with the saloon, even though it was developed alongside it as an individual vehicle.

At the rear, the glass roof tapers down over the large tailgate while the shoulder line moves up slightly towards the rear for a more muscular appearance. But, where the exterior styling is bold and dynamic, the interior is more focused on flexibility and practicality.

The Touring is 42 mm longer, 78 mm wider and 9 mm higher than its predecessor, and its wheelbase is 35 mm longer, allowing short overhangs that give the vehicle a sporty and elegant appearance.

Both front and rear seat occupants enjoy more space than before, and luggage capacity is up by 25 dm3 to 460 dm3. Folding the 60/40 split rear backrest forward increases load capacity to 1 385 dm3. And the luggage compartment cover automatically moves up when the rear window of the split tailgate is opened, allowing easier loading.

The luggage compartment's floor section is reversible, with a plastic cover that can be used when loading dirty or wet goods. Lashing points along the side can be used to secure heavy goods on one side. Sensitive surfaces can be protected from dirt and scratches by the plastic cover housed along the other side of the luggage compartment. A watertight bin housed beneath the load space is suitable for housing wet items.

Along with great loadability, the Touring offers sporty dynamics, courtesy of its 50/50 weight distribution and traditional rear-wheel drive.

Suspension is identical to that of the saloon, with a new double joint aluminium front axle and five-arm rear axle in lightweight steel providing precise and accurate handling characteristics.