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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new BMW 3-Series Touring has been revealed, combining the added space and versatility of the wagon body style with the enhanced dynamic performance and sharp styling of the new sedan range.

The first variants to launch internationally will be the 320d, 328i and 330d, while the 316d, 318d and 320i variants will be added to production before the end of the year.

BMW Australia’s Scott Croaker confirmed the new 3-Series Touring would land in local showrooms in the first quarter of 2013, around 12 months after the launch of the sedan. The specific variants have not been locked in at this stage, although the range should include some or all of the variants from the sedan line-up, which comprises the 318d, 320d, 320i and 328i. BMW has not officially confirmed a 335i Touring at this stage.

The new BMW 3-Series Touring is 97mm longer overall than the old model and 50mm longer between the wheels. Boot capacity has increased from 460 litres to 495 litres, which BMW says make it more accommodating than any of its competitors in the premium sports estate segment. The 40:20:40 split rear bench folds flat to open up 1500 litres of space behind the front seats.

Adding further practicality to the Touring is its electric tailgate operation, which allows the boot to be opened at the touch of a button on the keypad, the A-pillar or on the tailgate itself, and if the Comfort Access option box is ticked, by swiping your foot underneath the rear bumper.

The rear window can be opened independently of the tailgate, making it easier to load small items when space behind the car is tight. The window is unlocked electrically by a button on the rear windscreen wiper arm and opened manually.

Available optionally is a reversible boot floor section to protect the carpet from dirt, a telescopic aluminium rod to divide up the cargo area, aluminium roof rails, a panoramic glass roof, and a trailer coupling that facilitates towing and is compatible with modern bicycle racks.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have decreased 10 to 15 per cent across the range compared with the old Touring.

The 135kW/380Nm 320d uses 4.7 litres of diesel per 100km on the combined cycle, and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds. The more powerful 190kW/560Nm 3.0-litre 330d races to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds yet uses just 5.1L/100km. The 180kW/350Nm 328i takes 6.0 seconds to hit triple figures and burns through 6.8L/100km combined.

As expected, all three are fractionally slower and thirstier than their sedan counterparts.

The new 3-Series Touring will be equipped almost identically to the sedan range, and will also be available with the Sport, Luxury and Modern Line kits as well as the M Sport package.




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