Given the rise and rise of SUV sales, you might think that car manufacturers would be giving up on traditional estates. Yet they remain extremely popular in some markets – particularly Europe – so many brands are sticking with them. BMW is one such and it has just revealed this, the latest BMW 3-Series Touring.

As you’d expect, the Touring is much the same as the G20-generation 3-Series saloon launched earlier this year. It’s longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase too, so there’s appreciably more space than before.

The boot is bigger at 500 litres with the rear seats in place. Fold them down and there’s 1,500 litres of space. The opening is wider, though the loading sill is slightly higher. The rear seats fold 40:20:40.

Various option packs add load restraining rails, straps and nets, and drop the back seats at the touch of a button. All but the base model can tow 1,800kg.

Equipment specs match those of the saloon with a choice of SE, Sport and M Sport trims. All come fairly generously equipped and the options list contains all of BMW’s higher-grade gadgets, including large-format touchscreen infotainment and a head-up display. There are safety systems galore, as well.

A plug-in hybrid 330e model will be launched later this year, a first for the 3-Series Touring. For now, the range includes the usual run of petrol and diesel engines.

Diesel choice includes the 150hp 318d, 190hp 320d – without or without xDrive four-wheel-drive – and 265hp 330d xDrive. On the petrol engine front there’s the 184hp 320i, 258hp 330i and 374hp 340i xDrive.

It’s the latter that interests us most, purely because it sprints from 0-62mph in 4.5secs. Not so long ago that was supercar pace, but now it’s available in a fairly run-of-the-mill mid-size family estate.

Across the board, BMW promises a more focused driving experience with sharper handling.

Order books for the new BMW 3-Series Touring open later this week, with deliveries scheduled to start in September. Expect to pay about £1,500 more than equivalent saloon.

BMW has sold some 1.7 million 3-Series Tourings across five generations since it was launched in 1993. The previous F20-gen version accounts for half a million of those, underlining how popular estates still are.

BMW has sold some 1.7 million 3-Series Tourings across five generations since it was launched in 1993. The previous F20-gen version accounts for half a million of those, underlining how popular estates still are.

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By Graham King