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BMW 3 Series 2008 review

BMW 3 Series Touring wagon.

As well, all 320i models get a 5kW power boost to 115kW and the 320d sedan gets a third-generation, common-rail, fuel-injection diesel engine with a 10kW hike to 125kW with a claimed 10 per cent fuel economy improvement. Prices remain the same as before. (See story Page 19)

BMW Group Australia corporate communications manager Toni Andreevski said the addition of the 335i Touring, 320i Touring and 320i Executive Touring to the existing 323i Touring would double their sales of wagons from 166 last year.

“Touring is considered by many as a second car,” Andreevski said.

“We find buyers are more affluent and could probably afford to drive an X5 but don't want an SUV for various reasons. Perhaps the wife doesn't want a four-wheel-drive, or they are a bit more discerning and enjoy the handling and performance of a car, even though the X5 has good driving dynamics.

“Four-wheel-drives are getting better all the time but a car is still a car.”

And what a car the Touring is, with driving dynamics like the sedan and feeling more taut and nimble than the 335i convertible.

The top-of-the-line 335i features the twin turbo high-precision injection unit which was the 2007 international engine of the year.

The three-litre straight-six delivers 225kW of power and 400Nm of torque, propelling the vehicle to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds.

Fuel economy is rated at 9.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

It comes in six-speed Steptronic auto only with shift paddles on the steering wheel at $108,600, which is $4100 more than the sedan.

The Touring range starts with the six-speed manual 320i at $54,200, which is $3200 more than the sedan.

The Executive trim costs an extra $4900.

Both models cost $2600 more for the automatic.

The two-litre four-cylinder engine delivers 115kW and 200Nm with a 9.3-second sprint to 100km/h and economy of 8L/100km.

Standard features are the same as the sedan and include keyless entry/start, auto headlights and wipers, auto climate air, cruise control, Bluetooth interface preparation, six airbags and stability control.

The Executive package adds Dakota leather, front fog lights, partial electric seat adjustment, wood or aluminium trim, double-spoke 16-inch alloys and tricky lights that illuminate corners as you turn.

The 335i tops the 323i Touring with front parking sensors, 17-inch alloys, adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights with washers, TV tuner, sat nav, 10-speaker sound, full front electric seats and CD changer.

There is also a host of quite expensive options. However, these become much more affordable if you buy them as part of the various packages, such as the M pack with bigger wheels, lower and tighter suspension and various badging and trims.

The new Touring models look identical to the 323i Touring with a sleek roof line that doesn't appear dowdy as you would expect of what is, basically, a station wagon.

However, the cargo area is not huge until you drop the split-fold rear seats, then the long, flat floor becomes quite serviceable.

The tailgate is light and doesn't lift so high that short people can't reach it to pull it back down.

It is also split so you can just open the top glass half, which is handy for packing or removing light items.

There is also a privacy cover that keeps prying eyes off your goodies. This springs back when you open the top part of the tailgate.

Rear vision is not too bad for a wagon, but there are rear parking sensors anyway.

All Touring models now come with a luggage package that includes a removable watertight folding box, reversible liner with integrated protective cover, luggage compartment nets and dividable storage compartment under the floor.

Like all 3 Series, the Touring sits on on runflat tyres, so there is no spare under the cargo floor.

With its stiffer sidewalls, runflats may improve handling by preventing the tyre from distorting and rolling on the rims, but they have poor ride comfort.

Of course, the higher the profile, the better the ride.

The Touring range comes with 16, 17 and 18-inch wheels with the smaller wheels sporting 55 and 50 profile tyres which ride better.

The 18s feature 35 profiles which are strictly for smooth roads.

BMW 2008 releases

* X5 twin turbo diesel 3.0sd in February. X drive will become part of the name. It is the first of the twin-turbo diesel engines for BMW in Australia. It will be quicker than any V8 or V10 competitor except the Audi Q7.

* 1 Series 135i and 125i Coupes arrive in May.

* 1 Series 135i and 125i Convertibles arrive in June with a 120i Convertible possibly arriving a couple of months after that.

* X6 “sports activity coupe” will be here in the third quarter of 2008. The “niche product” will arrive with six-cylinder diesel and petrol twin turbo engines. A V8 twin turbo is a possibility late in the year or early in 2009.

Pricing guides

Based on 116 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

325i 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,900 – 18,700 2008 BMW 3 Series 2008 325i Pricing and Specs
323i 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,800 – 13,310 2008 BMW 3 Series 2008 323i Pricing and Specs
320i 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $7,500 – 11,660 2008 BMW 3 Series 2008 320i Pricing and Specs
320i Executive 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $6,700 – 10,450 2008 BMW 3 Series 2008 320i Executive Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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