BMW 3 Series Touring estate

Price  £26,405 - £41,665

BMW 3 Series Touring estate

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Good performance and economy
  • Top-notch build quality
  • Excellent practicality
  • High list price
  • Expensive options stack up fast
  • Cheaper rivals offer more space

At a glance

The greenest
320d ED Plus Touring 5dr £31,970
The cheapest
318i SE Touring 5dr £26,590
The fastest
335d xDrive M Sport Touring 5dr £42,350
Top of the range
335d xDrive M Sport Touring 5dr £42,350

"The BMW 3 Series Touring mixes performance, economy and practicality in a safe and well-built package."

The BMW 3 Series Touring (the name is BMW's word for an estate) has been the car to beat in its class for two decades. It's a brilliant all-rounder, offering an attractive blend of strong performance, driving pleasure, great styling and an enviable image. It also now has a genuinely large boot – the largest in the class, in fact – having previously fallen short in this area.

Power comes from a range of extremely efficient petrol and diesel engines, with four and six cylinders. Our pick is the 2.0-litre diesel in the 320d Touring. In standard SE trim, it returns 65.7mpg and costs £30 a year to tax. The more efficient ED (Efficient Dynamics) Plus version does a slightly better 68.9mpg and costs £20 a year to tax. It costs around £700 more than the standard 320d, but in addition to its improved efficiency it has heated leather seats.

The majority of Tourings are rear-wheel drive, but in recent years the UK has finally been able to get four-wheel-drive versions as well, badged xDrive. The system adds about £1,500 to the car's price and increases fuel consumption, but boosts grip considerably. If you live in the country or lead an active lifestyle, it could be worth investing in.

The 3 Series Touring is a sporty car, but it's also surprisingly comfortable. However, while there's plenty of space in the front, the rear is sufficient only for two adults. A bulky transmission tunnel means there's little room for the middle passenger's feet.

The Touring comes in a range of trims, starting with basic SE and rising to Luxury and M Sport. Our favourite is SE. Its standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, electric windows, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 6.5-inch colour display and DAB digital radio. Stepping up to the Business version gets you satellite navigation, and we think this plus the 2.0-litre diesel engine is the perfect combination.

The 3 Series Touring was awarded the full five stars for crash safety by Euro NCAP and its standard safety kit includes electronic traction and stability control, hill-start assistance, rear parking sensors and tyre-pressure monitoring.

After 20 years, BMW has got rather good at building the 3 Series Touring. There are no serious reliability issues and it outperforms its closest rivals the Mercedes C-Class estate and Audi A4 Avant in owner satisfaction surveys.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.6 / 5

The fast and efficient engines in the BMW 3 Series Touring provide a good driving experience and keep running costs to a minimum

Engines, drive & performance

4.8 / 5

Even with a larger boot, the BMW 3 Series Touring is just as sharp as the saloon, which makes it the best-driving executive estate you can buy

Interior & comfort

4 / 5

The BMW 3 Series Touring is comfortable for five people over the worst that the UK’s roads can throw at it

Practicality & boot space

4.5 / 5

The BMW 3 Series Touring boot is not only big enough to be practical, it also has numerous touches to make it easier to use

Reliability & safety

4.2 / 5

The BMW 3 Series features top-notch safety and typically tough German build quality

What the others say

4.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
5 / 5
"Inside, you get a logically laid-out dashboard which is angled towards the driver, plus plenty of high-grade materials and impeccable fit and finish."
9 / 10
"Like the saloon, this is a superb driver's car, with roll-free and engaging handling that encourages exploitation of the engine's oft-prodigious power."
4 / 5
"The BMW 3 Series Touring is as good as is gets for compact executive estate car buyers."
8 / 10
"The BMW 3 Series Touring estate is a splendid all-rounder, and as such, should provide years of pleasurable ownership."
What owners say 
4.3 /5 based on 120 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
29 Oct 2015
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