BMW is wasting no time in developing an estate version of its next 3-series. Captured by Autocar’s spies undergoing testing on public roads, Munich’s sporty new load hauler should make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September before going on sale in the UK shortly before the end of the year.
Historically, BMW has waited two years after the launch of the 3-series saloon before introducing a new estate, but strong sales of the Touring in recent years have prompted it to change the timing of the new model’s launch to within six months of the saloon.The new car is slightly larger than its booted sibling, which is due to appear at March’s Geneva Motor Show. Length is up by almost 50mm on the current Touring at 4520mm, and it’s 77mm wider at 2013mm. Riding on a wheelbase that’s increased by 35mm over its predecessor’s at 2760mm, it promises more room for all occupants, as well as improved luggage capacity. The 465-litre boot is said to have grown by 30 litres over the current model, and extends to almost 1500 litres when the split-fold rear seats are down.Power will come from inline four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, starting with a 148bhp 2.0-litre in the 320i and climbing to a 255bhp 3.0-litre powerplant in the 330i.Along with standard rear-wheel-drive models, BMW is also planning to equip selected 3-series Tourings with its xDrive 4x4 system, also recently confirmed for the 5-series.