The 3 Series Touring also receives a new lift-related damping system for the first time. An M Sport differential is standard on the M340i xDrive and optional on higher-spec models, as is M Sport suspension.
Product manager Stefan Horn told Autocar the new Touring will “handle even better” than the old car thanks to a stiffer chassis, lower centre of gravity and weight reduction.
Entry-level models will sit on 17in wheels as standard, rising to 19in on higher specs, with full-LED headlights and tail-lights also standard. Horn claimed the objective was to prioritise the car’s looks to increase desirability, as the estate sector declines in the face of SUVs.
At 4709mm, the new model is 76mm longer than the previous generation, in part due to a wheelbase that’s 41mm longer, at 2851mm. The new 3 Series Touring is also 11mm taller and 16mm wider.
BMW claims it offers extra shoulder and knee room, along with the ability to fit three child seats across the rear bench.
The 500-litre boot is wider and five litres larger than before and is accessed via a standard automatic tailgate, which retains a separately opening window.
There are storage areas under the main boot floor, and new optional rubber anti-slip rails, which keep smaller loads in place. The rear seats can be folded in a 40/20/40 layout, increasing the storage capacity to a maximum of 1510 litres.
In the UK, the 3 Series Touring will be offered in SE, Sport, M Sport and M Sport Plus trim levels. The top level includes M Sport suspension and brakes, 19in alloy wheels and a choice of exclusive colours. Prices have yet to be announced, but expect the base model to start from just under £30,000, with an average increase over like-for-like saloons of around £1500.