Tow Car Awards 2023: 1550-1699kg
If you’re looking for a great tow car that will also be enjoyable to drive solo, you need one of our 2023 Tow Car Awards winners. Here we look at the best buy from 1550-1699kg...
BMW 3 Series Touring 320i M Sport
Kerb weight 1660kg 85% match 1411kg Max towing weight 1600kg Towball limit 75kg
Few cars can match the BMW 3 Series Touring for high-speed stability. BMW’s recently facelifted estate really is a confidence-inspiring tow car.
Our test drivers were more than happy at the legal limit (and beyond at the test track), with only the slightest of movements, even in breezy weather.
What’s more, in the emergency lane-change test, the 3 Series was happy at all three speeds. Even when the caravan began to slide behind it, the car pulled it straight again with minimal fuss.
You might think four-wheel-drive cars are best suited to hill starts, but the rear-wheel-drive 3 Series handled the 1-in-6 slope with ease in the dry. There was no sign of wheelspin or any rolling back as the electronic parking brake released.
Although the 320i is the least powerful petrol engine in the 3 Series line-up, it still produces a handy 184hp and 221lb ft of torque. Being petrol, it needs more revs than a diesel, but it propelled car and caravan from 30-60mph in a brisk 10.9sec.
Unhitch your caravan, and you’ll find the 3 Series is an absolute pleasure to drive. No other executive estate will plant a broader grin on your face. The steering is precise and beautifully weighted, and the car corners with poise and plentiful grip.
The flipside to the sporty drive is a firm ride, but it stops short of being harsh. The optional M Sport Pro Package, fitted to our test car, is a pricey suite of extras, but includes adaptive suspension which allows the driver to make the car more forgiving on rough roads.
Inside, the updated dashboard features an eye-catching 14.9-inch infotainment screen and a very high standard of finish. A lump running down the spine of the car gets in the way of a central rear passenger’s feet, but there’s enough space for four passengers to be comfortable.
Okay, there are roomier estates, but you certainly won’t have to travel light with a boot capacity of 500 litres. However, The Camping and Caravanning Club’s practicality judges did note that towing is restricted to 35mph if the run-flat tyres pick up a puncture.
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