BMW has lifted the proverbial lid on its 2012 3 Series Touring. The estate version of the new 3 Series will boast similar styling, equipment and driving dynamics to the saloon car, but will provide significantly more storage capacity than any 3 Series Beamer that came before it.
BMW reckons the new car will offer the largest storage capacity in its class. The Touring's boot now provides 495 litres of space -- 35 litres more than you got in the previous model, 10 litres more than you get in the current Mercedes C Class Estate and 5 litres more than you get in an Audi A4 Avant estate.
Not only is the space abundant, it's also very flexible thanks to the car's 40:20:40 folding rear seats. The middle portion folds away to help accommodate a set of skis or a snowboard, and if you fold all three pews flat, total storage capacity rises to 1,500 litres. This is exactly the same amount of room as you get in a Mercedes C Class Estate, but significantly more than the 1,430 litres you get in an equivalent Audi.
The 3 Series Tourer's boot area packs some additional features. The upper glass area of the tailgate opens independently to the overall unit, which is useful for loading small items that don't warrant opening the entire boot. When larger items do need to be loaded, the whole boot lifts open electrically at the touch of a button on the key fob.
There's stuff going on 'round the front, too, believe it or not. Three engine choices will be available at launch, accounting for 328i, 330d and 320d models. The latter is expected to be the most popular, as it's the least expensive and most frugal of the trio, offering 60.1mpg, 124g/km of CO2 emissions and a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds.
The new 3 Series Touring will be available in the UK in September 2012 for a starting price of £29,380. Check out the pictures below.