BMW will add another option to the all-new G20 3 Series from October this year, when a single Touring wagon variety will join the initial line-up of two sedans. How does it stack up against the competition?
Based on the 330i sedan, the 330i Touring shares the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder and its 190kW/400Nm output, but promises to be a more practical proposition with its boot space expanded to 500 litres.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed but expect a similar, if not identical, pricetag relative to the last-gen 330i Touring of $75,000. With the new 330i sedan costing $70,900 – the same as the F30 model it replaced in March - we're confident BMW Australia will adopt a similar strategy with its midsize wagon.
Other global regions are already being treated to a broader Touring spread with 318d and 320d diesels confirmed at launch, along with a more affordable 2.0-litre petrol that wears a 320i badge and a high-performance M340i hero that packs a six-cylinder under its bonnet.
It’s possible a selection of those variants will be trickled into the Australian market if BMW follows its traditional drip-feed approach to new models. It has already confirmed that a 320i and M340i will be added to the 3 Series sedan range from September as well as a 330e plug-in hybrid.
That said, relatively low demand for premium wagons will almost certainly prevent the full Touring line-up from making its way Down Under.
Fuel consumption figures are yet to be confirmed for the 330i Touring but a small increase is likely given the Touring’s slightly increased kerb weight over the sedan. Zero to 100km/h acceleration takes a tenth of a second longer at 5.9 seconds, versus the 5.8s benchmark of the 330i four-door.
The 330i Touring’s boot can be expanded to a healthy 1510 litres with the second row of seating folded away, or a combination of seating and boosted boot with 40:20:40 split folding options.
With a relatively small market for premium wagons, the 3 Series Touring enters a fierce battle. Here’s the competition that BMW’s handsome wagon will have to bump gloves with.
Priced from $73,300, the equivalent Audi A4 45 TFSI quattro Avant also has a 2.0-litre turbo four-pot petrol under its bonnet but produces a little less than the 330i with peak output of 185kW and 370Nm. That translates to slightly softer performance with zero to 100km/h coming up in 6.0 seconds flat.
That said, the Audi’s unique selling proposition is the company’s celebrated and esteemed quattro four-wheel drive system that will appeal to customers spending more time on slippery surfaces like snow or gravel.
At the back end, the A4 wagon offers almost exactly the same boot space as the BMW with 505 litres when rear seats are instated, or an identical 1510L when they are all stowed.
For a similar budget, Mercedes-Benz offers the C300 Estate, starting from $74,300. It too has a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol that matches the BMW’s power, but falls short on handy towing torque with the same output as the Audi (190kW and 370Nm).
While the Audi and BMW have eight-speed automatic transmissions, the Merc has an advantage with an extra ratio, taking its auto up to nine-speed. Power, like the BMW is sent exclusively to the rear wheels.
With a zero to 100km/h dash of 6.1 seconds, the C300 wagon is not as spritely as the other two but its boot space is right on par offering exactly the same as the Audi’s load area – 505L and 1510L respectively.
Here’s a wild card you might not be considering. Skoda offers its Octavia wagon with the fizzy RS245 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine tucked under the bonnet. With a zero to 100km/h time of 6.6s, it’s not quite as potent as the others here but it’s still fun and has a super sharp $46,990 price tag.
Power is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, a sporty bodykit and wheels are standard, but its boot is the real icing. With 610 litres on offer with the rear seats in place or a massive 1740L maximum volume, the Octavia is practical and affordable with German build quality and Euro appeal - though without premium badge cachet.