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.