The BMW 3 Series Touring would have been a worthy winner of this weight division if it wasn’t for the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. It’s a very impressive machine.

The 335d has 309bhp and 465lb ft of torque, so there’s roughly twice as much muscle compared with a typical 2.0-litre diesel family car. Unsurprisingly, that makes the BMW brutally quick, going from 30-60mph in just 6.4 seconds. Even the Jag isn’t fast enough to keep up.

Of course, stability is more important than speed. There are no worries on that score, either, with a composed and secure performance in the lane-change test and very little movement from the caravan at the legal limit and beyond. The driver is a little more aware of the van than in the Jaguar, but we’re really splitting hairs between two very stable cars.

In the hill-start test, the handbrake held with no need to apply excessive force and the 3 Series easily pulled the caravan over the slope. Most of our testing took place in dry weather, but BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system would no doubt have proven its worth in the wet.

Compared with the previous generation 3 Series Touring, today’s car has more rear legroom and more luggage space, making it a more practical family car. The price is on the high side, but What Car?’s Target Price team has found that generous discounts are there for the asking.

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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