The new G21-generation BMW 3 Series Touring has been unveiled, offering usefully improved luggage space over the sedan.
Of course, there are no plans for this fresh-faced, wagon-shaped 3 Series to be offered here in South Africa. But buyers in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand will be pleased to hear sales of the Touring will start late in September 2019.
Compared with its predecessor, the new 3 Series Touring has grown in length by 76 mm (to 4 709 mm), in width by 16 mm (to 1 827 mm) and in height by 8 mm (to 1 470 mm). The wheelbase, meanwhile, has been extended by some 41 mm to 2 851 mm.
The boot can hold a claimed 500 litres (five units up on that of its forebear), a figure that increases to 1 510 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear backrest dropped down. The load compartment is some 112 mm wider than before, while the loading sill is slightly lower at 616 mm.
The station wagon version of the 3 Series features standard roof rails as well as aluminium trim for the B- and C-pillars, plus aluminium strips for the sealing around the side windows. At the rear, you’ll find a spoiler, LED taillamps units (with darker upper sections) and twin tailpipes.
As expected, the dashboard (including the infotainment arrangement) is shared with the sedan, with BMW claiming the new model offers more headroom than its predecessor "in all seats". The rear bench, meanwhile, boasts “extra legroom and greater ease of entry and exit".
At launch, BMW will offer its 3 Series Touring with the choice of three petrol engines and three diesel units. At the top of the range you’ll find the M340i xDrive Touring, which employs the German firm’s 275 kW turbocharged inline-six.
The line-up also includes a pair of four-cylinder petrol engines (with 135 kW in the 320i Touring and 190 kW in the 330i Touring), a 195 kW six-cylinder turbodiesel (in the 330d xDrive Touring) and two four-cylinder oil-burners, offering 110 kW in the 318d Touring and 140 kW in the 320d Touring.
The four-cylinder diesel units will come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed Steptronic transmission as an option (the self-shifting gearbox is standard on all other derivatives). In 2020, BMW says a 3 Series Touring model with plug-in hybrid drive system will be added to the range.
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.