There’s something quite classless about the BMW 3 Series Touring.
Beloved by everyone from country gentry to suburban parents, it ticks almost all of the boxes for almost all potential customers.
The 3 Series Touring is up there as among the finest estates to drive. It impresses ahead of rivals such as the Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo V60, with accurate, direct steering and high levels of grip. Buyers can also choose to have their 3 Series Touring fitted with BMW’s excellent xDrive four-wheel drive system, while the gearbox is either a slick six-speed manual or the effective eight-speed automatic from ZF.
With road and wind noise barely perceptible, its refinement is also the best in class – as you would expect, given the estate is identical to the 3 Series saloon apart from in the cargo hold. That said, there is the caveat that the ride isn’t the most comfortable in the segment.
The petrol models start with the 318i, whose turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder 154bhp engine delivers a 0-62mph time of 8.7sec and a top speed of 137mph. This sits below the 320i (184bhp, 7.5sec, 143mph) and the 330i (255bhp, 5.8sec, 155mph). If you need practicality but even more power, get yourself an extra pair of cylinders with the 369bhp M340i (369bhp, 4.5sec, 155mph).
Those with motorway commutes might be drawn to the diesels. The range opens with the 148bhp 318d. Our testers awarded the 320d saloon five stars and the estate just half a star less, impressed among other things by its return of 0-62mph in 7.4sec and around 50mpg. They also lauded the more powerful, six-cylinder 261bhp 330d, describing its blend of performance and economy as “world class”. But if your preference skews towards the former criterion, the 335bhp M340d might be for you.