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First drive: BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW 330d Luxury Touring
Boring and slow estate? No thanks, we'll have the fast and fun BMW 330d Luxury Touring instead please.

 



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| First Drive | Cotswolds, England | BMW 330d Luxury Touring |

Overall rating: 5 5 5 5 5

As BMW expands its 3 Series range even further we get behind the wheel of a 330d Luxury Touring. Sitting at the top of the tree (for now at least), does this six-cylinder model justify the extra cost over the smaller four-cylinder diesel on offer in the 320d? Well with extra performance alongside economy and efficiency figures that still impress it might just do.

Key Facts

Model tested: BMW 330d Luxury Touring
Pricing: 36,300
Engine: 3.0-litre, turbocharged six-cylinder diesel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: five-door estate
Rivals: Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo V60
CO2 emissions: 135g/km
Economy: 55.4mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds
Power: 258hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 560Nm at 1,500- to 3,000rpm

In the Metal: 5 5 5 5 5

We're already big fans of the way the BMW 3 Series saloon looks, and to our eyes the Touring only looks better for the addition to the rear. Sharp headlights that cut into the traditional double-kidney grille and the Hoffmeister kink carried through to the C-pillar define the shape.

Of course most of the cabin is shared with the saloon; there's more room than before and the quality of the design and materials used throughout are first class. There's lots to like, and the addition of a 440-litre boot space expandable to 1,500 litres (up 35 litres and 115 litres respectively) with standard 40/20/40 split and automatic tailgate make it something of a superb load lugger. Another highlight is the separate opening of the tailgate glass.

Driving it: 5 5 5 5 5

If we already liked the way the 3 Series looked, we absolutely adore the way it drives. With adaptive M Sport suspension (a 750 option) the 330d Luxury Touring is something of a giant killer, able to soak up the worst that our British roads have to throw at it while displaying a level of body roll comparable with some supposed sports cars. Turn in is sharp, with plenty of feel through the Variable Sport Steering (250) and it's not long before you forget you're driving a practical estate model - pity the Labrador in the boot.

But it's not the chassis, good though it is, that really makes this car; that honour has to go to the 3.0-litre diesel engine under the sculpted bonnet. Packing 258hp is impressive enough but it's the 560Nm of torque that makes the real difference. And did we mention all of that is available from only 1,500rpm? It means acceleration is almost instant, no matter the road or engine speed; the 0-62mph time is only a shade over 5.5 seconds. Overtaking is completed safely without a second thought, and motorway merging has never been more enjoyable.

Fitted as standard with the acclaimed eight-speed automatic gearbox, it perfectly suits the car. Paddle shifts allow those carrying some speed to take full advantage of the performance on offer, while the automatic mode blurs shifts seamlessly. In short, along with the rest of the car, the gearbox ticks every box you present it with.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

If you're trying to save money then the 330d probably isn't on your radar; after all, either the 320d or forthcoming 318d Touring would both offer acceptable performance with much lower running and purchase costs. But if you fancy pace with practicality then look no further. That the 330d returns over 55mpg and emits less than 140g/km of CO2 are the final components of the impressive package.

You'll still need over 36,000 for the privilege though, and insurance of the 330d is six groups higher than the 320d. Servicing is the same thanks to BMW's Service Inclusive package, catering for your 330d for five years or 60,000 miles for only 350 - a bargain in anyone's book. You can rest easy in the knowledge that residuals will be strong too.

Worth Noting

BMW has been making 3 Series Tourings since the second generation E30 model was introduced in 1982, and it's become big business for the firm ever since. Out of all the 3 Series Tourings produced worldwide the UK takes one-in-ten of them, accounting for around 8,500 units a year. It's a figure the firm will be hoping it can expand on further with the forthcoming four-wheel drive 'xDrive' models, stealing sales from arch rival Audi.

Summary

There are plenty of superlatives that could be used for describing this BMW 330d Luxury Touring. On most car reviews they'd be over the top - you know the stuff: giant killer, best compact estate model on the market, quicker and more fun than the average sports car and build quality better than a model costing twice as much. But with performance, looks, economy and practicality on its side, in this case it all looks entirely justified.


Graeme Lambert - 4 Oct 2012









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2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.



2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 

2012 BMW 330d Luxury Touring. Image by BMW.
 






 

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