The G20-generation BMW 3 Series sedan has been out for some time now. It’s beginning to crop up in driveways throughout suburbia, across the globe. However, the most popular European version of the 3 Series has been hidden away up until now — the BMW 3 Series Touring.
This is finally it, the all-new G21 3 Series Touring, the car that will likely be the 3er of choice for most European customers. Because customers east of the Atlantic typically prefer wagons over sedans, this is a big deal for BMW, as the 3 Series has gotten off to a bit of a slow sales start in Europe, mostly due to the lack of wagon variant. Now, though, the 3er can get back on track.
As far as styling goes, the G21 3 Series Touring is a looker. The new G20-gen design language works well with a long-roof body style and there are even some aspects of it that make it more handsome than the sedan. For instance, the Touring gets a more traditional Hofmeister Kink that looks better than the arrow-like one on the 3 Series sedan. Its taillights also look a bit better on a tailgate rather than a trunk, but maybe that’s just me.
BMW 3 Series G21 Touring – Luxury Line
Up front, the G21 3 Series Touring is the same as its sedan counterpart. So in Luxury Line spec, the 3 Series Touring still gets the same horizontal “T” shape fog-light housings, a design which was originally developed by NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), apparently. It’s a design that is a bit polarizing but it’s one that’s growing on us.
In M Sport guise, the 3er gets larger, more aggressive air intakes in place of those NACA-style fog-lights. You also get black Shadowline trim around the windows and black roof rails. Whether or not you like the M Sport package more, it’s certainly more aggressive looking. So if you want your 3 Series Touring to look like a sport sedan, get the M Sport package.
However, if you want something really sporty, go for the BMW M340i Touring. It gets even more aggressive front air intakes, along with similar black trim as the M Sport package. However, it also gets its Kidney Grille surrounds, mirror caps and some trim bits finished in the same matte aluminum look as all other BMW M Performance cars. Also included is the same new grille insert as the Z4 M40i.
BMW 3 Series G21 Touring – M Sport
The only real difference inside the G21 3 Series Touring is its trunk, obviously. Being a wagon, it has a much larger trunk than its sedan sibling and it features quite a lot of cargo space. The new G21 can swallow 500 liters of cargo with the rear seats occupied, which is 5 liters more than the old F31. With the rear seats folded down, total cargo volume increases to 1,510 liters. Like with other BMW wagons, the rear window can open independently of the tailgate, which makes loading just a bag or two into the trunk much easier.
Speaking of making loading items easier, the rear tailgate opening is now 112 millimeters wider than before, making it easier to load large items into the trunk. It also features a floor lip that’s been lowered from 35 millimeters to just 8 millimeters. That not only helps loading heavy items in but also unloading those same heavy items. That independent rear window’s aperture is also widened by 20 millimeters over the outgoing car. So just using the trunk of the new G21 3 Series Touring will be easier in every single way.
BMW has also been clever to integrate optional non-slip rails into the floor of the trunk. These non-slip rails feature aluminum rails with rubber inserts. The rubber inserts sit just slightly below the aluminum rails while the tailgate is open, to make sliding items into the trunk easier. Once the tailgate is closed, those rubberized inserts rise again, adding grip so that items don’t slide around while driving. That’s quite clever and something BMW claims all of the 3 Series’ competitors lack. There’s even a place to store the parcel shelf underneath the trunk floor, which is a small but very welcome feature.
BMW 3 Series G21 Touring – Studio Shots
The G21 3 Series Touring also takes advantage of that long roof by offering a panoramic sunroof. This allows more light into the cabin and makes the longer roof seem a bit more open. It’s a two-piece glass sunroof but only the front half opens, as the back half is just to let light in. A power-operated interior blind can help block out light if need be.
BMW 3 Series G21 Touring – Interior
At market launch, there will be seven model options available; three diesels, three gas engines and one hybrid. The BMW 318d and 320d Touring models will be the entry-level diesels and both are equipped with BMW’s new multistage turbocharging, which uses variable turbine geometry to allow for the best possible performance and efficiency. The BMW 320d makes 190 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and gets to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.1 seconds (7.5 seconds with a manual) and it’s available with xDrive all-wheel drive. It’s quite efficient, too, getting 4.8 – 4.6 litres per 100 kilometres /58.9 (61.4 mpg imp). While the 318d makes 150 hp and 236 lb-ft, scooting to 62 mph in 8.8 seconds. It’s also more efficient, returning 4.9 – 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres / 57.6 62.8 mpg imp). These are also the only two engines available with manual gearboxes.
Rounding out the diesel models is the BMW 330d xDrive, which uses a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 diesel to make 265 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. For the 330d, 62 mph takes just 5.4 seconds but its economy drops to 5.6 – 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres (50.4 – 52.3 mpg imp).
As for the gasoline engines, the BMW 320i is the entry-level car. With its own 2.0 liter turbocharged four-pot, the 320i makes 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, which allows it to get to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds. Despite being the least powerful gasoline very, it’s not as efficient as its diesel siblings, getting 6.3 – 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres (44.8 – 48.7 mpg imp). Upgrading from there is the BMW 330i, which also gets a 2.0 liter turbo-four only with 258 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. With xDrive all-wheel drive, it nails 62 mph in 5.8 seconds. That 330i is one of the least efficient, though, averaging 6.6 – 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres (42.8 – 44.8 mpg imp).
For the proper petrol-heads, the BMW M340i xDrive packs the biggest punch of the bunch. Its 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 gas engine makes a very healthy 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It’s only available with xDrive all-wheel drive and it takes 4.5 seconds to get nail 62 mph. Though, it’s obviously the least efficient, netting 7.5 –7.1 litres per 100 kilometres (37.7 – 39.8 mpg imp).
Lastly, the BMW 330e Touring rounds out the group and is by far the most efficient when used to its maximum potential. It gets a 2.0 liter turbo-four, making 184 hp, combined with an electric motor that makes 109 hp. Because the maths used to combine hybrid powertrain horsepower figures is confusing, it doesn’t make the 293 hp. Instead, it makes 252 hp combined but can be boosted to 292 hp for up to ten seconds using something BMW calls XtraBoost. So when you floor it, and use the pedal kick-down, you get ten seconds of XtraBoost allowing the total combined power output. Thankfully, ten seconds is more than enough as it can get from 0-62 mph in 6.1 seconds.
Plus, when the battery and gasoline engine are used in their most efficient manner, the BMW 330e is capable of 2.3 – 1.8 litres per 100 kilometres (122.8 – 156.9 mpg imp), which is by far the best efficiency of the lot. Electric power consumption alone averages between 16.3 and 15.7 kWh per 100 kilometres (62 miles) and the 330e Touring can drive for up to 63 kilometres (41 miles) using purely the battery.
BMW M340i Touring
To help increase efficiency, performance and handling across the board, the G21 BMW 3 Series Touring is also lighter than before. While the new G21 is only about 10 kg lighter than the outgoing F31, model-for-model, it’s also longer, wider and better equipped as-standard. So it’s lighter while offering more car. A lot of that has to do with new lightweight materials. For instance, the front struts and subframes are made from aluminum, as are the hood and front fenders. It also gets 50/50 weight distribution and a 25-percent increase in structural rigidity, versus the outgoing car.
Aluminium swivel bearings and control arms for the front axle, aluminium wheel mounts and a new generation of wheel bearings for the rear axle significantly reduce unsprung mass, as well. Revised front and rear axle kinematics and elastokinematics aid in increasing handling and sharpness. So too do the lower center of gravity, longer wheelbase, wider wheeltrack and increased front camber.
Along with its sedan sibling, the new G21 3 Series Touring gets the same new lift-related damper technology as standard, with an M Sport version being the same just 10 millimeters lower. Essentially, it’s a non-adjustable passive suspension setup that’s designed to be both more comfortable and sharper than before. From our experience with the sedan, it works very well. Adaptive suspension is also available, with the same Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes as we’ve become accustomed to. It also gets BMW’s new revised variable-ratio steering rack, which is now more predictable than before.
There’s also a limited-slip rear differential that’s available on the 3 Series Touring. It’s standard kit on the M340i but optional on the BMW 330i, 330i xDrive and 330d xDrive. It’s an electronically-controlled diff that helps to increase cornering stability and traction.
As for technology, the G21 3 Series Touring is identical to the sedan. So it gets the same new iDrive 7.0 infotainment system, the Live Cockpit digital instrument panel and an array of advanced safety features and driver aids. Though, the standard Live Cockpit system only comes with an 8.8-inch iDrive screen and a 5.7-inch driver’s display. While the Live Cockpit Professional comes with the full 12.3-inch iDrive screen and 10.25-inch driver’s display. It also gets BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant (BMW’s Siri), the Digital Key option which turns your smartphone into the keyfob and remote software upgrades.
All of this combines to make the new G21 BMW 3 Series Touring more high-tech, more dynamic, more powerful, more efficient and more luxurious that the car it replaces. It also looks great and has better practicality. Because wagons are so popular in Europe, the G20 3 Series has lagged behind its German rivals in sales, due to its lack of wagon counterpart. Now, though, we might see a comeback for the 3er in a big way.
BMW 3 Series Touring – Sketches
The sixth generation of the BMW 3 Series Touring will be unveiled to the public for the first time on 25 – 27 June 2019 via the new BMW Group #NEXTGen presentation platform at BMW Welt in Munich. Hosting the show premiere of the new BMW 3 Series Touring, meanwhile (just as it did the first generation of the five-door car), will be the IAA event in Frankfurt am Main in September 2019. The worldwide launch will get underway on 28 September 2019. Like all of its predecessors, the new BMW 3 Series Touring will be built at the BMW’s home plant in Munich – alongside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The new BMW 3 Series Touring will go on sale in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.