On the same day that BMW unveiled the three-door hatchback version of the 1-Series the Bavarian carmaker also introduced the new estate body style of the latest 3-Series that will be called Touring in Europe and other regions, and Sports Wagon in North America.
In Europe, the new 3-Series Touring will arrive in showrooms later this year as the 328i with a 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol producing 241-horses (245PS), the 320d propelled by a 181hp (184PS) 2.0-liter turbo diesel and the 330d equipped with a 255-horsepower (258PS) 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six diesel.
A six-speed manual gearbox sends power to the rear wheels in the four-cylinder models with the 330d sporting a standard 8-speed automatic, which is optional on the other models. Both transmission variants are linked to a fuel consumption-reducing Auto Start-Stop system.
Within the next year, BMW will enhance the range with more engine options as featured in the 3-Series sedan like the 3.0-liter turbocharged straight six petrol as well as four-wheel drive versions.
BMW said the 3-Series Sports Wagon will go on sale in the States in spring of 2013, without revealing any information about the range. A safe guess would be that the lineup will include the 328i with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine and the 335i with a 3.0-liter straight-six turbocharged gasoline unit and quite possibly a diesel-powered model.
Just like the sedan model, the new 3-Series estate is slightly larger than its predecessor, featuring wider tracks (front + 37 mm/1.46 in., rear + 48 mm/1.85 in.), plus a longer body (+ 97 mm/3.66 in.) and wheelbase (+ 50 mm/1.96 in.). BMW says the larger dimensions result in nearly ten percent more cargo volume both with the rear seats up (+35 liters to 495 liters) and when folded.
Among other highlights, the 3 Series Touring / Sports Wagon features a rear window that opens separately from the tailgate, which for the first time is electrically operated (hands free), and four tie-downs, a net along the left-hand panel, a pair of coat hooks and a 12-volt outlet in the cargo area. In addition, the rear seats can be folded down in three sections in a 40:20:40 split.
Available options that are unique to the station wagon version of the 3-Series include roof-rails and a full glass panoramic sunroof.