2013 BMW 320d Touring (F31)
The introduction of the first BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, or Touring as it is referred in BMW language, can be called as an unplanned engineering event. When the decision of building the 3 Series Touring was approved by the upper BMW management in 1985, there was actually no assignment for the engineers to develop such a car. The idea of developing a car with more space and functionality was put into practice by a single BMW engineer who awaited an addition to his family. Up to that time, BMW only offered the 3 series Coupe and Sedan. Because the new Touring combined functionality and the typical BMW driving performance, it became one of the best-selling model variants within the 3 series product range as well as in its car segment. After the introduction of the new 3 Series Sedan in October 2011, BMW premiered the all-new BMW 3 Series Touring, code-named F31, in the mid of 2012.
In the beginning of October I was invited to test drive the entry version of the all new BMW 3 Series Touring for one week. I picked up the car, an Alpine White BMW 320d Touring, at BMW’s facilities in Garching, near Munich. The Touring came with the M Sport package, which is available as an option next to the Luxury, Modern and Sports Line editions. Each line comes with unique design details that includes special color and material options. A wide range of additional safety features like the Head-Up Display, the Lane Change and Lane Departure Warning completed the package of the test car.
Engine and Technology
The BMW 320d Touring comes standard-fitted with BMW’s updated four-cylinder 2-liter diesel engine, a 6-speed manual gearbox and the new Driving Experience Control (Fahrerlebnisschalter). Thanks to BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, the engine develops a power output of 184 hp (135 kW) and produces 280 pound-feet of torque (380 Nm) which become available between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm. It boasts an all-aluminum crankcase, turbochargers with variable intake geometry, and Bosch common-rail direct fuel injection with piezo-injectors. Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 62 mph) is accomplished in 7.7 seconds. The new Driving Experience Control switch, located on the center console next to the gear shifter, allows the driver to choose among different driving modes, namely Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Every single driving mode adjusts the accelerator progression and the engine response to the preferred setup.
Further EfficienctDynamics technology, like the auto start-stop, brake energy regeneration and electric-power steering help to achieve a maximum fuel economy. BMW claims a fuel consumption of only 4.7 l/100 km (50 mpg) and CO2 emissions of 124 g/km. An even better fuel economy shall be possible with the new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission according to BMW. The BMW 320d Touring meets the EU5 exhaust regulations and can be ordered with the optional BluePerformance technology. The system, which combines a diesel particulate filter and oxidation catalyst with a NOx absorber catalyst, reduces nitrogen oxide emissions and achieves compliance with the upcoming EU6 standards.
Driving the BMW 320d Touring
In my week with the BMW 320d Touring I had the opportunity to use the car as my daily driver and for a longer journey to the Austrian Alps. Thanks to the fact that my week with the car also included a national holiday in Germany (3rd October, Anniversary of German unification), I was able to do some additional driving with the Touring. When I picked up the car, the odometer showed a total mileage of 1.943 km (1.207 miles). The driver oriented cockpit with the iDrive controller located at the center console provided good ergonomics and every button was exactly where it had to be.
My drive with the BMW 320d on the 3rd October took me to the Ammersee, which is located in the south-west of Munich and to the Bavarian Alps near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I kept the car most of the time in sports mode and it handled acceleration on the Autobahn as easy as breaking. The pulling power of the four-cylinder diesel engine was breathtaking and provided in every situation the needed power for overtaking slower cars. While I was driving at the Autobahn A96, I reached the maximum speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) within a few seconds. After I switched the Fahrlebnisschalter (Driving Experience Control) to Eco Pro mode, the car accelerated noticeable slower in order to achieve a better fuel economy. Thanks to the Active Steering I was able to take fast curves on the windy mountain roads. The car responded quickly in every driving situation and the steering felt smoother when driving slower and became stiffer on the Autobahn. In some moments I thought of driving a sporty Coupe instead of a Touring. My combined fuel economy after exactly 400 km (248 miles) was 6.0 l/100 km (39.2 mpg) with an average speed of 60 km/h (37.2 mph).
Infotainment and Safety Options
BMW combines their latest infotainment and safety features under the name “BMW ConnectedDrive” and introduces new technologies, such as the full-color Head-Up Display and the Lane Change and Lane Departure Warning to the mid-sized premium class. Also the Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function as well as Surround View and the Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info can be added as an option.
The feature which impressed me very much was the anti-dazzle High-Beam Assistant and the Adaptive Headlights. Independently from each other, the left and the right headlight uses the high beam to illuminate the things I needed to see in the dark. No matter if it was just a sign on the Autobahn or a group of cyclists at the roadside. Thanks to the anti-dazzle High-Beam Assistant, I was able to leave the high beam switched on even when there was traffic in front of me. Any dazzle is prevented by a cover applied across the headlights. An official video from BMW UK explaining the complex technology can be found at the end of this article.
Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and other advanced technology features can be combined with the navigation system of the car. Real-Time Traffic Information uses the vehicle’s built-in SIM card and provides the latest information on traffic conditions. The data is collected and analyzed from the dynamic network connection of mobile phones in vehicles in the area making it possible to generate an accurate picture of the current traffic situation. Additional services are available through the latest Bluetooth interface connecting the driver’s mobile phone with the navigation system. Text-based messages (SMS and e-mail) are displayed on the navigation screen and can be read out via the Text to Speech function. The BMW Connected app allows the driver to make use of web radio and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. As an example: Via the app “My BMW Remote” the driver can lock and unlock his car via the smartphone.
To cut a long story short, the BMW 320d Touring was a blast to drive! It offered excellent driving characteristics and a very good fuel economy. The BMW 320d is equipped with the most powerful and at the same time the most economical 2.0-liter diesel engine I have ever experienced. Diesel engineering at its best! The sporty exterior look with the M Sport package, the elegant interior materials as well as the intelligent safety and infotainment features rounded up the package of a great grand touring car with sufficient space for luggage and passengers.
BMW Adaptive Headlight Technology
|Base price/price-as-tested||€ 37,100 / € 60,730|
|Drivetrain||Front engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Engine||2.0-liter turbocharged I-4|
|HP/Torque (lb-ft)||184 / 280|
|Curb weight||(lbs) 3,516|
|Length x width x height||(inches) 182 x 79.9 x 56.2|
|0-60 mph||(seconds) 7.7|
|City/Highway fuel economy (mpg)||39 / 58|