BMW 3 Series Touring Review 2024

Written by Andrew Brady

9/10
heycar ratingStill the best premium estate
  • 2019
  • Estate
  • Petrol, Diesel, PHEV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Brilliant to drive
  • Luxurious and practical interior
  • Excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox 

Cons

  • Large wheels and sports suspension hinder ride comfort
  • Dated tech on pre-facelift models
  • Rivals offer more boot space

Overall verdict on the BMW 3 Series Touring

"In this BMW 3 Series Touring review we're taking a look at a car that is a defining all-rounder. Practical, comfortable and brilliant to drive, it's just a shame that so many potential BMW 3 Series Touring buyers will want an SUV instead."

BMW 3 Series Touring Review 2024: front dynamic

Estate cars like the BMW 3 Series Touring are losing ground to SUVs and crossovers, which is a shame. Not only because estate cars are better than ever - the 3 Series Touring is such a remarkably competent all-rounder in so many areas it's one of the best cars you can buy full stop - but because a good estate car crosses the comfort and driving experience of a saloon car with the practicality of, essentially, a van.


Now in its seventh generation, the latest BMW 3 Series Touring will appeal to buyers who want a practical family car without compromising on style and performance. It rivals similar executive estates (such as the Mercedes C-Class Estate, Audi A4 Avant and Volvo V60), while also offering a tempting upmarket alternative to mainstream models like the Skoda Superb Estate and Mazda 6 Tourer.


In an attempt to keep the 3 Series Touring looking fresh, BMW has recently given it a mid-life update. Changes to the exterior are barely noticeable (brighter LED headlights mean the front bumper no longer has to accommodate glitzy fog lights), while the interior benefits from a new toggle gear selector and the same curved infotainment display as the BMW i4 and iX.


There's a slightly simplified model line-up, too, although all BMW 3 Series Touring models are sufficiently well-equipped for the money and feel top notch in terms of quality. The interior is spacious enough to accommodate four adults, while its 500-litre boot stacks up well against rivals. If you're regularly travelling with a car full of passengers, you might want to look at the bigger BMW 5 Series Touring, though.


Naturally, the BMW 3 Series Touring's unique selling point is the way it drives. We've driven it back-to-back with the regular BMW 3 Series saloon and you just can't tell the difference - both feel superbly agile, remaining composed during cornering and offering an element of fun you just don't get in an Audi A4 Avant.


You'll find an engine to suit every buyer, too. The BMW 320i and 320d are now the entry-level models - each with plenty of grunt to enjoy the brand's legendary handling dynamics. Indeed, they're so punchy that it's almost hard to justify pricier (and thirstier) engines in the range.


If you do want a performance wagon, though (and don't want the mad new BMW M3 Touring), you can get the latest 3 Series in M340i and M340d variants. The BMW M340i Touring uses an exceptional six-cylinder petrol engine to cover 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds, while the torquey diesel BMW M340d Touring won't be that far behind (accelerating to 62mph in 4.8 seconds).


All BMW 3 Series Touring models now come with an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox, while most also have mild-hybrid assistance. If you wish to drive around town under electric power, though, you'll need to look at the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid. BMW says this can travel up to 37.9 miles before the petrol engine kicks in - this figure will be less in reality, but it's still ideal for covering both the school run and weekend getaways.


As a premium all-rounder, the 3 Series Touring is BMW at its very best. Recent updates are mild but they didn't need to be anything more than that - it's still one of our favourite estate cars to drive, while the classy interior almost feels beyond fads and fashion.


Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of BMW Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of BMW 3 Series Touring cars for sale. If you're looking for the older version, you need our used BMW 3 Series Touring (2012-2019) review.

If you're looking for a versatile family estate car, there are rivals which offer more bang for your buck. The huge Skoda Superb Estate is more affordable and more spacious, while SUV offerings like the BMW X3 might be a better choice for family buyers. That said, as a premium family wagon, we reckon the BMW 3 Series Touring is a step above everything in its price range.


Its key selling point is found in its road handling. In short, it’s brilliant to drive. The steering is perfectly weighted steering and body control is every inch as good as the 3 Series saloon. Combine that with a range of excellent engines and impressive tech, and the BMW 3 Series Touring is a really desirable estate car.

The now entry-level BMW 320i petrol and 320d diesel engines provide the best balance between performance and fuel costs. Both accelerate from 0-62mph in under eight seconds and get a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. 


If you want to add some excitement to your daily drive then the high performance petrols and diesels are worth considering. Both the M340i and M340d are a lot of fun - almost feeling like a last hurrah for conventional petrol and diesel engines. The plug-in hybrid BMW 330e will be a better choice for company car drivers, or those looking for a 3 Series with some kind of eco credentials.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate and Audi A4 Avant are the key rivals to the BMW 3 Series Touring. Both are similarly priced and designed to strike a balance between sports car performance and limo-like luxury. We’d argue that the 3 Series Touring is the best of the trio, with its sharp handling and high quality interior giving it an edge over its peers.


If you want something a bit left-field (and very, very comfortable), the Volvo V60 has more boot space than the 3 Series Touring (528 litres) and can be specified as an outdoorsy Cross Country soft-roader.

Comfort and design: BMW 3 Series Touring interior

"The interior of the BMW 3 Series Touring is deceptively large. At first, the low roof line and sports seat give the impression of a cramped cabin, but as you climb in you discover that there is actually a lot of space on offer."

BMW 3 Series Touring Review 2024: front interior

Tall adults will have little trouble fitting into the rear seats. There's lots of knee and shoulder space on offer, which means you can sit back and relax on a long journey. The only blot on the report card is the centre rear seat, which isn’t suitable for adults due to the raised floor. Three children will have no trouble travelling in the back, however. 


All versions of the BMW 3 Series Touring get firm and supportive seats that are designed with long distance travel in mind. It's easy to find a comfortable seating position, with plenty of adjustment in both the driver's seat and the steering wheel.


The minimalist dashboard design makes it easy to locate the controls for the infotainment and heating. Entry-level versions of the pre-facelift BMW 3 Series Touring get a traditional instrument cluster with physical dials, but we’d recommend spending extra to get a car with BMW Live Cockpit Professional: it replaces the instruments with a high-resolution screen behind the steering wheel that lets you customise the layout.

The fit and finish of BMW 3 Series Touring is extremely high. Almost every visible area of the cabin is covered in soft-touch plastics and leathers. You‘ll have to look very hard to find any plastics of the cheap and scratchy variety. Most are hidden in the lower parts of the doors and footwells, where their resilience is needed to cope with muddy shoes and boots that’ll brush their way. 


All versions of the BMW 3 Series Touring get ambient LED mood lighting as standard, with 11 selectable light designs in six colours. Admittedly, ambient lighting isn’t anything new these days (you can get them on much cheaper cars) but BMW’s system is really impressive and bathes the cabin in a soft blue or purple that gives the interior the vibe of a first-class airline cabin. 


BMW’s extensive (and often expensive) options list is comprehensive. This means you can get a 3 Series Touring with a full length panoramic sunroof, in-car wifi, wireless phone charging and automatic climate control for the front and rear seats. 

If you're looking for the latest infotainment, you'll want a 2022-onwards BMW 3 Series Touring. This gets an impressive dual-screen display as standard across the range - just like the one you'll find in the brand's latest electric models (the BMW iX and i4). It manages to be thoroughly modern yet still very useable - you'll still find physical buttons for features you use often as well as a rotary iDrive controller. 


You can also shout at it, too - not in anger, but yelling 'hey BMW' summons the brand's clever personal assistant. It soon feels second nature, particularly if you're used to the likes of Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa.


The infotainment setup in earlier examples of the BMW 3 Series Touring now looks a little dated, but it's still a relatively user-friendly system. Pre-facelift SE and Sport models get an 8.8-inch infotainment screen that’s located at the centre of the dashboard as standard, while M Sport versions get a huge 12-inch screen with a HD display. 


Both are operated by a large dial in the centre of the console, which makes it easy to browse radio stations, navigation commands and vehicle settings. The top of the dial is also a touchpad, which lets you write out numbers and digits for things like postcodes and house numbers for the navigation. 


M Sport models get a fully digital instrument display, which can be customised to show navigation routes, radio stations and engine data. A head-up display is available as an optional extra, which shows route directions, vehicle speed and local limits in the bottom right hand corner of the windscreen. 


BMW’s gesture control was available as an optional extra on early cars. To use it you need to wave your hand in a pre-set way to perform a certain action, such as adjust the audio volume or accept a hands free phone call. We found the system frustrating to use as it wouldn’t always recognise our hand signals - apparently buyers agreed, which is why it was dropped from the options list in 2022.

Despite its low slung appearance and sloping roof line, the 3 Series Touring is deceptively spacious. 


The BMW 3 Series Touring's boot capacity is 500 litres with the rear seats in place  - five litres more than its predecessor. The rear seats can be lowered to offer a maximum van-like capacity of 1,500 litres. 


Due to its long wheelbase, the BMW 3 Series Touring is useful for moving bulky items, with a maximum load length of 1,804mm from the boot lip to the front seats. You can also split the rear folding seats, which lets you carry one or two passengers in the rear while utilising the full load length of the car. All of the seats fold down via a switch on the outer parts of the seat, but they don't provide a completely flat load floor. 


All versions of the BMW 3 Series Touring can be specified with a tow bar. The 320i has a maximum braked towing capacity of 1,600kg, while all other models provide 1,800kg.


Inside, the rear seats are wide and supportive. There is generous levels of head and legroom, too, which means most adults will be able to sit back and relax without their knees pressing against the front seats. Technically speaking, the BMW 3 Series Touring is a five-seater, but the raised floor in the middle of the car (caused by the transmission tunnel) limits legroom for those in the middle. Children will have no trouble with this, which means three will sit in the back quite comfortably, but adults might find it a snug fit. 


The 3 Series Touring should accommodate three child seats, but there are only two Isofix anchor points and this means the centre child seat will need to be secured by the seatbelt. 


If you're wanting to squeeze the BMW 3 Series Touring into your garage, you'll be wanting to note its external dimensions. It measures 4709mm in length, 1827mm in width and 1440mm in height.

Handling and ride quality: What is the BMW 3 Series Touring like to drive?

"The BMW 3 Series Touring is a rewarding car to drive. The steering is nicely weighted and provides lots of feedback, which means you'll always know how much grip is on offer."

BMW 3 Series Touring Review 2024: rear static

The sharp steering makes it easy to get a feel for the road conditions. Rear-wheel drive is standard on most models, but four-wheel drive is available as part of the xDrive pack. The system’s rear-biased set-up gives xDrive models a similar driving feel to the rear-wheel drive version, with torque only being sent to the front wheels when loss of traction is detected. 


If you plan to choose one of the powerful petrol or diesel engines with xDrive, we’d recommend fitting the optional limited slip differential. It increases grip levels to mind bending levels, with the system capable of detecting loss of traction on individual wheels and adjusting torque flow to compensate. 


BMW 3 Series Touring M Sport models get BMW’s variable sports steering as standard, which sharpens the steering sensitivity. This is useful for making precise adjustments to the handling at speed. It comes into its own when parking, owing to the fact you are not required to make half as many turns to guide the 3 Series Touring into a tight space. 


The sophisticated suspension provides excellent body control when cornering, which means the car doesn't pitch or roll uncomfortably when navigating a tight bend or roundabout. However, with most versions using run-flat tyres, the ride quality is always on the firm side of comfortable. The optional adaptive damping does improve this.


Sport models strike the best balance between performance and comfort, with the 17-inch wheels suppressing all but the heaviest bumps and lumps in the road. M Sport models get 18-inch wheels as standard, along with stiffened and lowered sports suspension. These harden the ride and sharpen the handling. If you want a sporty 3 Series Touring experience, M Sport should be your default choice. 

The BMW 3 Series Touring is available with petrol, diesel or hybrid power. These choices are split across 2.0-litre four- and 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines. All estate models get BMW’s impressive eight-speed automatic transmission, but there is no longer the option of a manual gearbox. 


The range initially started with the 318i four-cylinder petrol (156PS) but this was dropped from the line-up in 2022. That's not a bad thing as we reckon you should overlook this in favour of the more powerful 320i anyway. This develops 184PS and is more refined and fun to drive than the 318i, with better low-gear torque and motorway performance. If you want a sporty experience, look no further than the 330i. It develops 258PS and is capable of covering 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. 


The range topping M340i is designed for drivers who want a family-friendly estate with supercar rivalling performance. The four-wheel drive M340i is powered by a 374PS turbocharged six-cylinder in-line petrol engine. It uses a bespoke suspension set-up to maximise grip and the 0-62mph sprint takes just 4.5 seconds.  


The 320d is the traditional choice for company car drivers, due to its advertised 55.4mpg and 190PS of power. The 318d used to be the cheapest diesel in the range, but it’s less powerful (150PS) and less efficient than the 320d with advertised fuel economy peaking at 53.3mpg. 


The powerful 3.0-litre six-cylinder 330d is the most powerful diesel in the range (265PS). Powerful, refined and packing some serious low-gear punch (580Nm of torque), the 330d blends sports car performance with affordable running costs.


The 330e is the only plug-in hybrid in the BMW 3 Series Touring line-up. It combined the 184PS four-cylinder petrol engine with a lithium-ion battery that lets the car run on pure electric or a mixture of electric and petrol power. Via a BMW wallbox, a full charge takes 3.4 hours.

The BMW 3 Series Touring is one of the most refined cars in its class, which means you can waft along the motorway at 70mph in near silence


The BMW 330d does have a tendency to transfer some noise and vibration into the cabin during the winter months at stat-up. But these imperfections are quickly ironed as the engine reaches operating temperature. The four-cylinder engines are much quieter and refined at lower speeds. 


The 330e plug-in hybrid has a maximum range of 37 miles, which means it’ll run on pure electricity in silence until the battery depletes and the 2.0-litre petrol engine kicks in. 


The potent BMW M340i is theatrical, owing to its powerful engine and sports exhaust system that delivers a race car soundtrack. Even in its most docile setting, the M340i will deliver a deep throated burble as it pulls away, with the occasional crackle and pop as you lift your foot off the throttle.  

The BMW 3 Series Touring is fitted with a comprehensive array of safety kit. The 3 Series scored a maximum Euro NCAP safety waiting of five out of five when it was launched in 2019, along with a 97% rating for adult occupant safety and 87% for children.


The BMW 3 Series Touring uses a sophisticated array of cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings and alert the driver of nearby hazards or step in and take direct action. A smart front collision warning system, for example, is fitted as standard and will apply the brakes if it detects an potential impact with a cyclist or pedestrian. It’ll also slow the vehicle or bring it to a halt if it thinks a collision with another vehicle is likely. 


The optional Driving Assistant Professional pack adds a range of semi-autonomous driving tech that includes adaptive cruise control that’ll automatically control the vehicle’s speed and gap between the car in front on the motorway. The pack also includes a rear view traffic alert system, which will warn you of approaching vehicles when reversing out of a parking space or driveway. 


The 3 Series Touring is advertised as a car that’s capable of carrying three child seats across the rear bench, but only two ISOFIX anchor points are fitted to the outer rear seats - this means the middle child seat will need to be affixed by the seat belt. 


There is no space for a full size spare wheel in the BMW 3 Series Touring. All cars are supplied with a BMW Mobility Kit, which includes a can of tyre sealant and an electrically operated 12V compressor that can be used in the event of a tyre puncture. An optional 17-inch space saver tyre is available as an option, but reduces luggage space by 115 litres.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a BMW 3 Series Touring cost to run?

"The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid has the best advertised fuel economy, with a maximum 201.8mpg. It also has an electric range of 32-37 miles (depending on trim) which means you can run the 330e as a pure EV over short distances."

BMW 3 Series Touring Review 2024: front dynamic

The 320d is the cheapest non-hybrid option in the BMW 3 Series Touring range when it comes to fuel economy, with advertised efficiency peaking at 55.4mpg. This is followed by the less powerful 318d, which returns up to 53.3mpg. The six-cylinder 330d is the least efficient diesel in the range - the 330d returns 45.6mpg or 43.5mpg when specified with xDrive. 


The entry-level 318i four-cylinder petrol has the lowest advertised fuel economy (42.2mpg) while the more powerful 320i will return up to 41.5mpg. The most powerful four-cylinder petrol engine is the 330i and this returns up to 40.4mpg.


Fuel costs drop by a considerable margin for the high performance M340i. All versions of the M340i use xDrive as standard and the six-cylinder petrol returns 33.6mpg, according to the official figures. 

The latest BMW 3 Series Touring is proving to be a very dependable estate car. Sure, general running costs are likely to be a little higher than something like a Volkswagen Passat Estate, but we've heard of very few common issues afflicting the 3 Series Touring. BMW provides a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty from new.

With the 318i dropped from the facelifted line up the cheapest BMW 3 Series Touring versions to insure are low-spec 320i and 320d models, which fall into group 28. Higher spec versions creep into group 30, while 330i versions are group 32 and up.


At the spicier end the 330d is in group 40 or 41, the M340i is group 40 and the M340d is up in group 42.

Under the latest VED road tax rules, a BMW 3 Series Touring will cost £165/year to tax (after the first year). Hybrid models (including both PHEVs and mild hybrids) get a £10 discount, but all cars with a list price of more than £40,000 will be stung by a £355 penalty for five years. That's most BMW 3 Series Tourings - something to bear in mind, especially as it's based on the price when new and not what you actually pay for it.

How much should you be paying for a used BMW 3 Series Touring?

"Prices for a new BMW 3 Series Touring start from around £40,000, while the most desirable models are more than £55,000. It's not a cheap car but you get what you pay for - and you can save cash by looking for a nearly-new example on heycar."

BMW 3 Series Touring Review 2024: front static

The BMW 3 Series Touring holds its value well but it has been on sale for a few years now so, if you're not fussed about having the latest infotainment or revised headlight design of the 2022 model, it's worth looking on the second-hand market.


A budget of around £28,000 will get you an early 318i Sport Touring, while an extra £2000 will pick up a more desirable M Sport. Alternatively, an ex-demonstrator model with little more than delivery miles on the clock can be picked up for around £38,000 - saving you money and letting you skip the waiting list in the process.


Looking for a used BMW M340i Touring? Around £45,000 will get you a lightly used example of one of these - that's pretty good value for money for one of the best all-rounders on the market.

As of the 2022 update, standard specification for all BMW 3 Series Touring models now includes 17-inch light-alloy wheels. The BMW 3 Series Touring M Sport model includes 18-inch light-alloy wheels as standard, while the BMW Performance models produced feature a 19-inch light-alloy design. The range of exterior colours has been expanded to include Skyscraper Grey metallic and Brooklyn Grey metallic for M Sport models. The BMW Individual Frozen Pure Grey metallic and Frozen Tanzanite Blue metallic special paint finishes have also been added to the range.


Chrome accents highlight the double bars on the BMW kidney grille on M Sport models, with a large central air intake that features hexagonal contours and a honeycomb pattern. Deeply recessed air curtains at the outer edges of the front end accentuate its width. On the M-specific rear apron, vertical reflectors at the outer edges and a large diffuser signal the car’s sporting instincts. 


BMW 3 Series Touring M Sport models feature M Sport suspension (except plug-in hybrid variants) including variable sport steering (except plug-in hybrid variants) and newly designed 18-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed tyres. The M Sport trim also includes bespoke interior touches, such as an anthracite-coloured headliner, M leather steering wheel, M-specific upholstery and interior trim finishers in the new Aluminium Rhombicle Anthracite finish.


The M Sport Pro Pack has had some enhancements. Available only on M Sport models, this package includes now includes sprint mode as well as extended M High-gloss Shadowline trim that brings a Black kidney grille surround and tailpipes in Black Chrome, as well as M lights Shadowline, an M Sport braking system with red callipers bearing the M logo, a black M rear spoiler for the Saloon models, and seat belts with contrast stitching in the colours of BMW M.


M-specific exterior features such as large air intakes and aerodynamically optimised details make the BMW Performance models in the new BMW 3 Series range even more dynamic. The BMW M340i xDrive and BMW M340d xDrive feature a mesh-design BMW kidney grille, exclusive 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes and new M exterior mirror caps in Black high-gloss. The Saloon versions also feature a Black Sapphire M rear spoiler. Adaptive LED Headlights with blue accents also come as standard on both models.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The BMW 3 Series Touring's external dimensions might be smaller than, say, a Skoda Superb Estate but it's surprisingly spacious inside. Kids will be more than happy with the back seats, while the 500-litre boot stacks up well and is usefully square in shape. If you need more space, there's always the BMW 5 Series Touring...
We rate the BMW 3 Series Touring as one of the best all-rounders money can buy. It's a versatile estate car with a superb cabin and impressive infotainment (especially since the 2022 update). It's also excellent to drive, while there's a wide range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines on offer.
The new BMW 3 Series Touring starts at a smidgen under £40,000. If you're happy with a pre-facelift example, though, you can pick up a used example for less than £30,000.

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