The BMW 3 Series Touring was, and still is, a misunderstood car in America. Yet, the 3 Series Touring will always have a special place in our hearts. I still recall our final test drive of the F31 BMW 330i Sports Wagon. The beautiful Smoke Topaz-painted wagon came decked out with an M Sport package and some M Performance Parts. It was proper send off for an underrated, underappreciated car.
Its successor, the G21 wagon, skipped the U.S. market, a decision which also played a role in the market distribution of the first-ever BMW M3 Touring. Along with a new design, the G21 BMW 3 Series Touring brought forward some exciting powertrains: from powerful four pots to six-cylinder turbocharged diesel and petrol units. And among them is our favorite: The BMW M340i Touring.
The Best Looking 3 Series
The versatile and sporty touring has recently gone through a facelift, bringing some mild but meaningful design updates. The kidneys have changed with the mid-cycle update as BMW decided to opt for either a honeycomb pattern or M-style double grille slats.. If you opt for the M high-gloss Shadow Line option, the black kidneys come standard. BMW also incorporated the active grille shutters behind the new grille insert, which gives it some visual depth.
The first thing most of you will notice is the headlight change, though. The pre-LCI 3 Series was unique in the BMW lineup, with little notches in the undersides of its headlights. Those same notches are now gone and the 3 Series’ headlights look more like those from the 4 Series. Those headlights come full LED as-standard and with the brand’s latest anti-dazzle technology. Beneath the new grille and headlights, much larger air intakes replace the old, smaller ones. This is probably the largest area of improvement. The large air intakes of the M Sport Package are also painted in the same body color as the car, compared to black as before.
Due to pedestrian regulations, the nose is also more angles, shark-like, while the gap between the kidneys and bumper is extremely slim. The rear bumper is different and features a redesigned diffuser in the middle. But nothing brings all these things together other than the addition of a stunning Melbourne Red Metallic color. To configure our ideal BMW M340i Touring, I headed over to the BMW.de online configurator.
Aside from the Melbourne Red color, I also went for the 19 inch Style 792 M bicolor wheels which match perfectly the standard red calipers. The M high-gloss Shadow Line blends in its blacked out elements with the vibrant red paint job. The large exhaust pipes and the aggressive black diffuser round up the looks of this M340i Touring. Like most new bimmers, the BMW M340i Touring gets BMW’s latest iDrive 8 system, which comes with a dual-screen setup that also includes its digital gauge screen.
But it wouldn’t be a proper sports wagon without a punchy heart. The BMW M340i Touring is powered by the B58 3.0 liter six-cylinder turbocharged engine, arguably BMW’s best powerplant today. It delivers 374 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque sent to all four wheels. Thanks to extra grip, the BMW M340i Touring runs from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in about 4.5 seconds.
So not only it maintains its simple, handsome good looks, the BMW M340i Touring Facelift is a proper family sports car, a rare combination these days. Now let’s just hope that BMW will give us, the Americans, a future 3 Series Wagon as well.
[Photos: BMW.de configurator]