Whenever a new or facelifted car makes its official debut – be it from a mainstream or luxury brand – it’s always the same story. With good reason, the automaker shows it in the most expensive trim levels because those look the best in the press images. Such was the case with the 3 Series Touring LCI as BMW initially presented the updated wagon in M340i flavor before coming out with the big guns – the M3 Touring.
But the vast majority of people aren’t going to buy the M Performance model, let alone the full-fat M, so here’s a reality check with a plain and simple 320d. A popular choice among European buyers, the diesel-fueled estate was spotted at a German dealer in Erfurt. The 3er LCI is a relatively rare sight even in its domestic market since the semiconductor shortage is still wreaking havoc in the automotive industry.
Riding on the base 17-inch wheels, the oil-burner with a long roof is finished in Skyscraper Gray Metallic and does away with the optional M Sport Package. The sharper headlights introduced with the Life Cycle Impulse appear to be more attractive in these real-life images compared to the press shots, but looks are subjective. Mild changes to the grille and bumper have been made, albeit nothing to write home about.
The most important modification implemented with the mid-cycle update is the adoption of iDrive 8 across the 3 Series lineup, from the bottom to the top. It combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a 14.9-inch touchscreen, which has swallowed the climate controls that used to be physical buttons. You can also notice the rocker switch for the automatic transmission, thus replacing the bulky lever of the pre-LCI 3 Series.
Even in this lesser configuration, the family wagon still has three-zone climate control and a pair of USB ports for the rear passenger. There’s also some form of ambient lighting, but the cloth upholstery is a clear sign we’re dealing with a lower-end specification. It’s worth mentioning this is not the absolute base 3 Series Touring since the 320d starts at €53,200 in Germany where the 318d begins at €49,500.
The most affordable of the lot is the gasoline-fueled 318i, kicking off from €45,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the M3 Touring costs more than double, beginning at a hefty €97,800.