What is it?
This is the estate version of our favourite compact saloon, equipped with what will likely be the sweet spot for the engine line-up here in the UK.
The turbocharged, four-cylinder 320d has already proved as such in the four-door 3 Series, having been labelled the pick of the range for the vast majority of drivers when we road tested that car earlier in the year. Diesel might be increasingly vilified elsewhere in the industry, but its combination of performance, refinement and frugality is still tough to beat in the compact executive sector.
It should prove equally appealing in the more practical Touring, which will likely be tasked with more four-up family holidays, recycling centre visits and towing duties than the saloon ever will. Stowage capacity has grown slightly to 500 litres from the outgoing model's 495, while a widened tailgate, lower lip and electrically folding rear bench make loading far more convenient. Flatten the rear seats and there’s 1510 litres of room, which can only be beaten by Skoda’s Superb Estate.
Tested here in M Sport trim, which BMW expects the majority of Touring customers to opt for, our car rides on 18in wheels and passive M Sport suspension. It also benefits from xDrive four-wheel drive, but does without the sport brakes and active differential seen on the more potent 330d we drove recently.