There’s a new winner in the middleweight class this year – the BMW 330d Touring. Our judges were so impressed with the BMW that it outpointed last year’s class champion, the Volkswagen Tiguan, in all four scoring categories.
First and foremost, the 3 Series Touring makes towing seem effortless. In no small part that’s down to the engine, which drags car and caravan from 30-60mph in just 7.3 seconds. Some of the cars tested here would struggle to match that without a caravan, let alone when towing.
Power counts for nothing without control, though, and the 3 Series is exceptionally stable, as well as seriously swift. In the lane-change test the BMW scored a perfect 10 from our tame What Car? road tester, who described the 3 Series as ‘grippy, composed and in control’.
Other drivers were also impressed with the way the 3 Series handled crosswinds, observations backed up by data from the Al-Ko ATC system. It also settled down quickly after any sharp steering input, and cornered with poise and precision.
So long as the handbrake was pulled on firmly, car and caravan held still on the 1-in-6 test hill, and we had no trouble tackling the slope in drive or reverse.
Whether towing or driving solo, the eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent, responding quickly and smoothly. Paddles behind the wheel let the driver take charge, and this adds to a really rewarding drive on the right road.
It’s not just quick, stable and fun; the 3 Series is practical, too. Rear-seat space has improved over the old model, and our practicality testers found room for a full load of holiday luggage. Trailer stability control picked up more marks.
The BMW’s price tag is high, but strong resale values and impressive fuel economy should keep running costs down.
2.0 TDI 177PS Quattro S-line S-tronic
xDrive 18d xLine
1.9 DTi GT TSE 5dr
1.8 DiD 4WD 4 Low Emission
2.2 DI-D GX5 auto
2.2 D-4D Icon 4x4
2.0 D-4D Excel
2.0 TDI 4Motion Bluemotion R-Line
D4 Lux Nav