Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
Broadly speaking, the 3 Series Touring is priced between the slightly cheaper Volvo V60 and the slightly more expensive Mercedes C Class Estate. Resale values are quite strong by class standards, and this bodes well if you’re looking to buy using PCP finance.
If you’re a company car driver, you should look at the 318d and 320d diesels – or possibly even the 320i petrol. All of these engines are more efficient than front-wheel drive equivalents in an Audi A4 Avant, and roughly on a par with the V60. If you must have four-wheel drive, xDrive versions are quite a bit cheaper on benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax than Quattro versions of the A4 Avant.
We’ve yet to put a 3 Series Touring through our True MPG tests, but the 320d saloon averaged 47.2mpg. On the petrol-powered side, the 330i is more frugal than like-for-like rivals, such as the Volvo V60 T5.
Equipment, options and extras
Mid-range Sport trim is our favourite. As well as coming with sportier bumpers and 18in alloy wheels, it also brings those all-important leather seats. These are added to the usual 3 Series equipment, which includes tri-zone climate control (with a separate controller for rear passengers), cruise control, heated front seats, power-folding door mirrors and automatic lights and wipers. Add the aforementioned infotainment features and visibility aids, and you have a well-equipped car.
However, people clearly appreciate really sporty looks; most BMW buyers opt for the even more aggressive-looking M Sport trim. We wouldn’t necessarily endorse this, though, because it doesn’t give you a whole lot more than added style for your money. If you can't resist, add the optional M Sport Plus package for a more comfortable ride.
We can’t give you any detail on how reliable the latest 3 Series Touring has proved – it’s simply too new. But we can give you a heads-up on BMW’s overall reliability performance. In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the German brand finished a relatively disappointing 21st out of 31 manufacturers – ahead of Mercedes but behind Audi and Volvo.
You get a three-year manufacturer's warranty with no mileage cap, and you can extend it for an extra charge if you intend to keep the car for longer.
Safety and security
Impressively, the 3 Series not only got the full five stars, but managed an even higher score than the vault-like Volvo V60 in Euro NCAP crash tests while all versions come with a good roster of active safety features that are designed to prevent you having a bump, and passive ones to protect you if you do. The list includes automatic emergency braking, which can recognise pedestrians as well as cars, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and a bunch of airbags.
We’d recommend considering the optional Driving Assistant Plus pack, though; it further reduces your chances of an incident by adding lane-keeping assistance, blindspot monitoring and cross-traffic alert (which warns if you’re about to pull out into the path of a car when leaving a side junction). It also gives you adaptive cruise control with steering assistance.