The new BMW 3 Series Touring
14th May 2012
The new BMW 3 Series Touring will offer an even stronger blend of thoughtful practicality and outstanding driving dynamics when it comes to the UK in September. 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.
A load capacity that is the largest in its class, complete with innovative storage solutions, is wrapped in a dynamically styled, strong but lightweight body that follows the same winning formula of previous BMW 3 Series Tourings over the years. After all, it was BMW that invented the premium Touring segment back with the E30 3 Series and it has proved a winning formula ever since then with an average 8,500 new car buyers a year.
Three advanced, powerful, yet frugal engine choices are available at launch. For example, the new BMW 330d Touring produces 258hp and 560Nm of torque, enough to reach 62mph from rest in just 5.6 seconds, yet still achieves 55.4mpg on the combined cycle. Further engine variants will join the range in due course.
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.
Greater practicality including new automatic boot opening
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.
The optional storage package takes the practicality of the new 3 Series Touring a stage further, with a net on the left-hand side of the tailgate and a reversible floor section with a protective coating on the underside for when carrying messy items. There is also an adaptive load space attachment system of user-friendly plug-in elements to divide up the load space, which can be stowed under the boot floor when not in use.
Further options include aluminium roof rails and the electrically operated large panoramic glass sunroof. A trailer hitch, electrically powered to fold out of the rear bumper, turns the new 3 Series Touring not only into an admirable tow car, but can also be adapted for the easy fitment of bike racks.
Class-leading drivetrain options
At launch, the new BMW 3 Series Touring is powered by a choice of a petrol or two diesel powerplants, all using BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology. In due course, a much wider selection of engines will be offered, in line with the 3 Series Saloon models.
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).
The initial petrol-powered offering is the 328i, the perfect demonstration of BMW’s current cutting-edge engine philosophy. This four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine features all the latest TwinPower technology: high precision direct fuel injection, a twin scroll turbocharger, Double Vanos variable camshaft timing and BMW’s VALVETRONIC variable valve control.
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.
The current pinnacle of the diesel line up is the 330d model. Using the award-winning 3.0-litre, all-aluminium straight-six engine but with substantial modifications over the previous generation, this powerhouse redefines smooth, frugal performance in this market segment. BMW engineers have managed to further lower internal friction and reduced the weight of the engine, while optimising the fuel injection system. There’s a new air intake and a lighter crankshaft to boost throttle response, along with lighter turbine blades in the turbocharger and modifications to the pre-injection phase of the solenoid injectors - operating at 1,800 bar – for the same reasons.
The result is 258hp at 4,000rpm, and an immense 560Nm developed over a broad plateau between 1,500rpm and 3,000rpm. Unsurprisingly, when mated to the standard 8-speed gearbox on this model, the 330d possesses some outstanding performance figures, with 62mph achieved from a standing start in only 5.6 seconds, and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. As ever, the trump card is this level of performance blended with outstanding efficiency: the 330d achieves 55.4mpg on the combined cycle, and emits just 135g/km of C02, making it a particularly clean high performance choice.
Later in the year the new 3 Series Touring range will be expand with a 320i petrol engine producing 184hp and 270Nm torque, plus a further pair of 2.0-litre diesel engines – the 318d and 316d. The former will produce 143hp and 320Nm of torque, while the latter will have 116hp and 260Nm of torque. Fuel consumption and emissions data will follow in due course.
The 328i and 320d models come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, which in the case of the 320d has dry sump lubrication. It also features innovative carbon friction linings for the synchromesh. The new eight-speed automatic gearbox – standard on the 330d – has been designed to be so efficient, both through its intelligent lightweight design and software control – that it is virtually a match for the manual option in this area, and up to 15 per cent more efficient than the old six-speed automatic gearbox from the previous generation model. Customers looking for an even sportier drive can specify a sports option for the new automatic transmission, offering more dynamic shift algorithms and gearshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
BMW’s Efficient Dynamics initiative means the new 3 Series Touring comes as standard with the Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration and the ECO PRO function. Advanced ancillary units, such as the on-demand coolant pump and the electronically controlled oil pump, further enhance intelligent energy management.
The most dynamic chassis in class
With a longitudinally mounted engine sat far back in the chassis, rear-wheel drive, superb weight distribution and a light, stiff bodyshell, the new BMW 3 Series Touring has all the right ingredients for ride and handling excellence. To that end, BMW engineers have sought to improve upon the already highly regarded package of the previous generation model by careful honing of the core components.
With its longer wheelbase (50mm) and wider front and rear tracks (37mm and 48mm respectively) the new car gave those engineers an even better basis with which to work their magic on. The double joint tie bar front axle with its spring struts and anti-roll bars, has torque struts, wishbones and swivel bearings made from aluminium to reduce the unsprung mass. Given that it doesn’t need to counter any torque steer (thanks to the rear wheels receiving the torque from the engine), the kinematics of the front axle can be devoted to offering the finest handling and steering precision.
For the rear axle, the new 3 Series Touring uses BMW’s advanced five-link arrangement with significant improvements. The long wheel travel and precise location it provides the new 3 Series Touring with both agility and excellent comfort properties, including isolation from noise and vibration.
Customers can choose to further enhance the dynamic handling of their new vehicles with two suspension options. The M Sport suspension, featuring a 10mm drop in ride height, provides firmer springs and damping as well as thicker anti-roll bars. Selecting this option also brings with it 18-inch M alloy wheels. There is then the further option of the Adaptive M Sport suspension, with electronically controlled damping that adjusts the damper mapping to the road surface and driving situation. The driver can also use the Driving Dynamic Control switch to vary the basic suspension tuning between more comfortable or sportier settings according to individual preference.
The new BMW 3 Series Touring is fitted with an electromechanical power steering system that only operates when steering assistance is actually required. Not only is this system lighter and more fuel efficient than conventional power assistance systems, it offers a high level of steering precision. The BMW 330d Touring and BMW 328i Touring come as standard with the Servotronic function for speed-sensitive steering assistance, while Variable Sports Steering is also available as an option, providing different steering gear ratios depending on the angle of the steering wheel.
The job of restraining the new BMW 3 Series Touring falls to its lightweight floating caliper brakes with large inner-vented discs, while the aluminium front calipers provide a useful further reduction in unsprung masses. The driver’s inputs are backed up by a suite of advanced electronic safety systems integrated into the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. An M Sport brake option is available for performance-orientated customers, with aluminium four-piston fixed callipers at the front and two-piston fixed callipers at the rear, along with generously sized brake discs.
Body and safety
The new BMW 3 Series Touring offers its occupants outstanding active and passive safety. Careful selection of raw materials, a high-strength structure and intelligent use of lightweight design principles, the body meets the most exacting safety standards and, in conjunction with highly efficient restraint systems, guarantees maximum occupant protection. Compared to its predecessor, body stiffness has been increased by more than 10 per cent, and yet the overall structure weighs 40kg less than before.
The BMW 3 Series Touring comes as standard with front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as head airbags for both rows of seats. All seats are fitted with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, while the driver and front passenger also have belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters, with ISOFIX child seat attachment points on the rear seats.
Equipment and model lines: More choice, more options.
The new BMW 3 Series Touring benefits from a particularly generous amount of standard equipment throughout the range. The entry-level ES model features 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome exhaust pipe trim, plus the automatic boot opening. Inside, there is automatic air conditioning, the BMW Professional radio with 6.5-inch colour screen and iDrive control, keyless start, cruise control, Driver Performance Control featuring ECO PRO mode, a USB audio interface and the 40:20:40 split rear seats. SE models add PDC front and rear, an automatic dimming mirror, two-zone air conditioning and automatic lights and wipers.
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.
The new BMW 3 Series Touring features a raft of driver assistance and mobility services at the vanguard of this market segment. BMW groups them under the ConnectedDrive term due to the intelligent way they interact with each other, to the benefit of the customer.
Highlights include the latest full colour Heads Up display, the Lane Change and Lane Departure Warning system – which includes a collision warning system with a braking function monitored by radar and cameras – and the Active Protection Package that pre-empts a collision and readies the car’s systems. Further options include the High Beam Assistant and Adaptive Headlights, the Surround view camera and Parking assistant and Active Cruise Control with a Stop and Go function.
ConnectedDrive enables the extensive use of external mobile phones and music players, with offerings from BMW Live and BMW Online. Thanks to new Bluetooth office functions, internet-based services along with calendar entries and text messages can be viewed in the Control Display of the iDrive operating system and read out via the Text to Speech function. In addition, passengers can access their personal music library.
The BMW Connected app allows the use of web radio and social networks like Facebook and Twitter in the car. Using the My BMW Remote app, meanwhile, lets you remotely unlock and lock the car as well as control the auxiliary heating. Finally, information and office services along with travel (RTTI traffic information is a further option) and leisure planners using the Google Maps and Panoramio services are also available.