2013 BMW 3 Series Touring
2013 BMW 3 Series Touring. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2012 BMW 328i Modern
Test Drive: 2006 BMW 325xiT

Manufacturer’s web site
BMW Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2013 BMW 3 Series Touring

Munich, Germany—Coming to Canada in the spring of 2013 is the Touring version of the sixth-generation BMW 3 Series—a car that made its debut this year in sedan guise. While previous versions of this premium compact wagon have not exactly flown off the shelves in North America, the Touring has been a proven seller in the UK and Europe, where streets are narrower, gas is more expensive and the almighty SUV and CUV don’t completely rule the roost when it comes to family/practical transportation.

Canadians will get the 2013 328i xDrive Touring which, with its all-wheel drive and efficient turbocharged direct-injection 2.0L four should hit all the marks here in the Great White North. An eight-speed auto is the only transmission offered. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but we can certainly expect a premium over the $43,600 328i Sedan, but hopefully not much more than the 2012 328i xDrive Touring’s $45,700.

2013 BMW 3 Series Touring
2013 BMW 3 Series Touring
2013 BMW 3 Series Touring. Click image to enlarge

A few hours of, er, touring around Bavaria in the 328i xDrive Touring revealed it to be a great driver’s car with some clever utilitarian solutions. As with all 3 Series vehicles, there is a driver-focused sense of cohesion that stretches from the stellar front seats to the way the chassis, steering, and brakes work in happy harmony. This is a car that is as easy to drive swiftly as it is settling into a relaxed cruise.

The 2.0L four-cylinder with single twin-scroll turbocharger may not be as creamy as the classic Bimmer straight-six, but with 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque on tap from 1,250–4,800 rpm, and barely a hint of turbo lag, it’s a strong and willing partner. Plus it has its own charming little snarl. The slick-shifting eight-speed keeps the engine in the powerband at all times and it responds immediately when playing with the paddle shifters—something you can’t say for most non-twin-clutch automatic gearboxes.

The only fly in the ointment is a rather abrupt auto start-stop system compared with some of the competition’s similar setups. But hey, it saves fuel and can be switched off if so desired.

The 328i xDrive Touring records average fuel consumption of 6.8 L/100 km on the EU cycle. After half a day of B-road motoring and a couple of 200+ km/h blasts on the Autobahn, the computer showed an impressive 8.3 L/100 km.

Our models will have the Dynamic Experience Control rocker switch on the console that offers four settings—Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. These presets alter throttle response, transmission mapping, stability control function, steering feel, and the adaptive dampers. In Eco Pro the throttle is less sensitive, the transmission upshifts early and downshifts late, the HVAC system is optimized for maximum economy, and special displays show fuel consumption history and coach you toward a more efficient driving style.

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