BMW 330d Touring

xDrive M Sport

BMW 3 Series Touring 320d xDrive
BMW 3 Series Touring 320d xDrive side
BMW 3 Series Touring 320d xDrive rear
BMW 3 Series Touring opening tailgate window
BMW 3 Series Touring 320d xDrive cockpit
BMW 3 Series Touring boot

THE BMW 330d Touring - a favourite of the driver who wants the best of all worlds - is more than 20 years old.

And as its coming of age approaches, a new model that sticks to the successful formula of performance and practicality in equal measures is in the showrooms.

True, diesel six-pots may not be flavour of the month but their combination of effortless and immediately available power alongside refinement and decent economy will still prove irresistible to many.

The latest Touring adds a tad more usability to the mix with a more rear passenger space and a boot that can carry 500 litres of luggage, and 1,510 litres with rear seats folded - that's among the biggest in its class.

I loved the pop-out rear window which allows stuff to be loaded without opening the tailgate and hence disturbing already stowed luggage.

Nothing has been lost on the performance front. In fact with 261bhp and bucket loads of torque it has the credentials to keep pace with all but the supercar league.

Married to an eight-speed dual clutch automatic, the creamy smoothness of the twin turbo three litre oil-burner catapults the Touring to 62mph in just under five seconds - that's quick by any measure.

Various driving modes are available at a turn of a knob including Sport Plus which we found tad too abrupt for normal road use.

But it's not the sheer speed that impresses most, more the easy access to drama free power and the civilised delivery which allows long distances to be swallowed up effortlessly thanks to bags of grip and a suspension that is neither disturbed by undulations nor high cornering forces.

With xDrive four-wheel-drive the 330d manages to get all its abundant power on to the ground no matter whether the surface is wet or dry. In snow of greasy conditions the benefits are still more obvious.

More than half the orders in UK are expected to be for the xDrive versions.

With near perfect 50-50 weight distribution, a lighter but more rigid body, it is hardly surprising handling is spot on. It goes neatly wherever it's pointed and at normal or even high speed shows sign of deviation. Steering is pleasantly communicative yet doesn't transmit jolts back to the helm.

Styling-wise, the latest incarnation is sufficiently different to recognise, yet it's still immediately recognisable as a 3-Series Beemer. New rear lights emphasise its greater width and the latest frontal treatment distances itself from the old plain Jane look. More aggressive but still in character.

Inside it's a familiar but upgraded BMW look with heavy duty, high grade dark plastic mouldings and a huge rectangular 10-inch touchscreen dominating the dash. All very solid and tough, but not terribly exciting visually.

You don't expect to extract family hatchback type fuel consumption from a largish estate which can see off most sports cars. But that's exactly where the 330d touring scores. We averaged 41mpg during some vigorous and enjoyable running.

FAST FACTS

BMW 330d Touring xDrive M Sport

Price: £47,330

Mechanical:261bhp, 2,993cc,6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 5.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 50.4-52.3

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 172g/km

Bik rating: 38%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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