I'm not a fan of BMW's through past experience of friends cars but the 320d Touring has made me re-think.
I recently hired one to move my wife from Edinburgh to Cologne.
I drove from Cologne to Edinburgh and back in less than three days with no problem and all of my wife’s bits, pieces and kitchen sink went in the back.
I did have to remove the rear-seat bench before setting off to give extra space and was surprised to find it was made of polystyrene, which is usually found in cheaper cars e.g. Peugeot 206.
Fuel economy was fantastic (6.9 litres per 100km or more than 41mpg) for such a heavily loaded car with high average speeds thanks to that tall sixth gear and huge reserves of power and torque (my previous car was a FIAT Coupe with over 250bhp).
The iDrive was simple and intuitive though the specification confused me a little. There was sat-nav but no CD player!
The suspension was awful when the car was empty on bumpy Belgian motorways though the rest of the time was OK if a little firm - it is still a family car not a racetrack-machine BMW.
Overall I would seriously consider buying one but would still test an Audi Avant or Mercedes C-Class Wagon to see if the suspension settings were more to my liking.
THE BEST COMPANY CAR I HAVE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF DRIVING. OK NOT THE LARGEST OF BOOTS BUT IT MAKES UP FOR THAT IN SO MANY OTHER WAYS, DRIVING EXPERIENCE, HANDLING AND THE 320D ENGINE IS SUPERB. I WOULD HAVE NO HESITATION IN CHOOSING ANOTHER ONE.
I owned the 325 sport model previously. I found the ride and road noise too much, so got one of these instead. What can I say? Typical BMW quality and does not handle like an estate (oops sorry, Touring!).
The engine is responsive and pulls well. I suggest this engine size as a minimum if considering an auto.
Bad points: the luggage space is not huge ("lifestyle" estate). The front bumper-design is plain and prone to chips. The diesel gives better mpg.
Good points: it's a solid, reliable, good-quality BMW, and will run for years.
The performance, refinement, economy and handling are all excellent. My 330d SE Touring has now covered 118k miles with no major mehcanical problems and still pulls like a train. It rarely does less than 40mpg combined, and more on a long motorway run.
The interior and paintwork are holding up well and do not belie its age (2001) or mileage. The only downside is that the boot isn't great for an estate and that the rear bench seat is a bit cramped for two adults and a child seat.
Overall it's a great car to drive and own.
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