As the old saying goes, do you want the good news or the bad news first? I’ll start with the good news. BMW has released the new BMW 3 Series wagon, or Touring in BMW speak. Now for the bad news- it won’t be getting sold in the US. We already knew this, but that doesn’t make it suck any less.
Much of the new 3 Series Touring, known internally as the G21, is the same as the sedan. They have the same, slightly over-styled front end and endless technology. The manual transmission is only available on Euro-spec 4-cylinder diesel models. Unlike some wagons, which have self-levelling rear suspension to compensate for the heavier loads that it might carry, the G21 has the same suspension as the sedan. This could mean that it’ll handle significantly worse when it’s carrying heavy loads, but that’s unlikely. It should be fun to drive hard, as although its larger in every dimension, it’s also stiffer and lighter than before, and can be had with a limited-slip differential. With that said, enthusiasts will still miss being able to get a 6-cylinder engine paired with a manual transmission.
The main differences are at the rear. Thanks to the wagon body, it no longer looks like a Lexus at the rear, which is something people have complained about with the sedan. But the real reason you buy a wagon is because it has lots of cargo space, and the G21 is no exception. Where the sedan has a 480 liter trunk, the Touring has 500 liters. It’s an improvement, but still slightly disappointing- the BMW X3, built on the same platform, has 550 liters of space. At least with the seats folded down (which can be done electronically if you pay extra), cargo space increases to 1510 liters, which is more than enough for your flat-pack Ikea furniture. As is tradition with BMW wagons, the rear window can open separately. A new feature, not just in the 3 Series Touring but for cars in general, is optional rails in the cargo area which automatically extend from the floor when you close the tailgate, to prevent your groceries from sliding about.
The engines used in the sedan are also used in the Touring. This will include the 330e plug-in hybrid, which has 252hp, or 292hp with “XtraBoost” mode engaged. This is the first time BMW has made a hybrid wagon. No word on an M3 Touring. Come on BMW, you know you want to.