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BMW is keen to point out that its new 3-series Touring now outpoints its major rivals for load bay space, as it renews battle in the compact premium estate segment.
There's a perception that the previous 3-series Touring wasn't the most practical of cars in this class, but the new model's 495 litres of space beats Audi's A4 Avant by 5 litres and the Mercedes C-class by 10 litres. It's also 35 litres larger than the previous 3-series Touring.
We sampled the new Touring in the current pinnacle model of the 330d that features a 258hp 3.0-litre engine, which despite offering a borderline supercar 0-62mph acceleration time of 5.6 seconds, still returns just 136g/km of emissions and an official 53.3mpg. It really shows just how far manufacturers have come in terms of economy and CO2, and BMW's Efficient Dynamics continues to lead the way. The car is also as good to drive as BMWs normally are, and still ahead of the opposition, while the new eight-speed automatic offers a slick shift and emissions that would matcha manual, if one were on offer. The Audi A4 rival at the higher power outputs is only available in Quattro four-wheel drive mode, which gives the 330d a cost and efficiency advantage it rams home successfully, enjoying a 9.2p per mile victory over an A4 Avant 3.0 TDI S-line auto.
BMW has also made a real effort to ensure the Touring has extra appeal. Every model has an electric automatic tailgate as standard, as well as a separate release that opens the glass panel for loading either small items or for when parked up in tight spaces.
The 330d Touring is an impressive machine, combining immense performance with practicality and efficiency in equal measure. It's a shame it's quite expensive, but running costs are excellent, and it's a cracking all-round car.