Cars > Launch

BMW PH unveils trio of 3-Series Touring variants

Who says wagons are dead?

With the introduction of the 3-Series Touring, wagons are slowly making a comeback. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

In a somewhat surprising move, BMW Philippines formally unveiled the long-anticipated M3 Touring alongside two more 3-Series Touring variants.

And while the presence of the M3 Competition xDrive Touring is the big story, the 318i Touring and the M340i xDrive Touring are more than worthy of note and are refreshing additions to the local stable.

The 318i is the more sophisticated-looking variant of the three. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The 318i Touring is considered the base variant of the three, and it comes with the 3-Series’ face-lifted exterior, with more streamlined headlights, new sportier-looking bumpers, 18-inch wheels, and the new “double bar” kidney grille.

Inside, passengers are greeted with the new wraparound digital display, combining a 14.9-inch infotainment module and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster running BMW’s latest operating system. It also comes with maroon Sensatec upholstery and aluminum trim finishers.

The 318i is powered by the B48, a 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line-four gas engine. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The 318i Touring essentially carries over all the features found in its sedan sibling, including the familiar turbocharged, 2.0-liter in-line-four that puts out 156hp and 250Nm, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.

The excellent driving dynamics of a sedan with the practicality of an SUV behind you. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The obvious differentiator for this wagon is that it is, well, a wagon. With 500L of luggage space in its cavernous boot—which is expandable to a whopping 1,510L with the rear seats folded down—the 318i Touring offers all of the refinement that people expect from a BMW with a double dose of practicality and utility.

The M340i xDrive Touring is made for those who want a performance-oriented daily driver. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

While the spec sheet on the 318i Touring was made with the more comfort-oriented customer, the M340i xDrive Touring has the driving enthusiast in mind. The M Shadowline trim, the M Aerodynamics package, and the black 19-inch alloy wheels give it a far more aggressive appearance.

The famous B58 is found under the hood of the M340i. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Armed with 374hp and 500Nm produced by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged in-line-six engine, this sportier wagon variant boasts a 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds. But rapid acceleration is only the beginning of the M340i xDrive Touring’s performance credentials.

The adaptive M suspension, the M differential, and the xDrive four-wheel drive system keep the M340i under control, while the larger M Sport brakes with the gloss-red caliper provide more than enough stopping power.

Carbon-fiber trim and niceities like a Harman Kardon sound system are present on the M340i. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The little M badge on the steering wheel and the M stripes on the seatbelts give the occupants hints of the car’s abilities. The car comes with carbon-fiber trim and the addition of the Harman Kardon surround-sound system.

Finally, we have the ultimate family wagon—the, M3 Touring. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

While the M340i xDrive Touring is an impressive piece of machinery, the M3 Competition xDrive Touring turns everything up to 11. Like all G8x-generation M3s and M4s, it comes with the vertically oriented kidney grille, the hood bulges, and the plethora of scoops and vents that are now standard fare for modern M cars.

The legendary straight-six S58 is found under the hood of this über-wagon. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Equipped with the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo straight-six called the S58 and the same M-tuned eight-speed automatic as its coupe, sedan, and convertible siblings, the M3 Competition xDrive Touring offers 510hp and 650Nm on tap, accelerates from a standstill to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, and will keep on going until its electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.

A practical cruise missile, anyone? PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Highlights of this latest M car include the now-signature carbon-fiber roof, the M Compound brakes, the staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged alloy wheels, and the M Drive Professional package, which allows the driver access to a 10-stage adjustable limited-slip differential, a lap timer, and a drift analyzer (yes, a drift analyzer).

A special M Mode button switches between road, sport, and track settings, and the M xDrive four-wheel drive system is adjustable to driver preferences, along with the steering, the engine, the chassis, and the brake pedal.

Are you willing to shell out more than P10 million for this special wagon? PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The spec sheet on the M3 Competition xDrive Touring is undoubtedly long and impressive, but that’s to be expected. What makes this car truly special is its place in the M Division’s storied history.

Over two decades ago, M Division engineers created a one-off M3 Touring, a concept based on the E46 (1998-2005) platform. Kept hidden behind closed doors, this unicorn never made it to production. Now, with this first-ever production M3 touring model, BMW finally brings to life what was once an automotive fantasy.

As expected, these touring models will have a slight price premium over their sedan counterparts. The 318i Touring will have a sticker price of P3,890,000, while the M340i xDrive Touring will retail for P5,890,000. Meanwhile, the M3 Competition xDrive Touring will go for P10,490,000—a price fitting its place in BMW history.

Francis Aguila

Francis is an affable lover of watches and cars, particularly BMWs from the '80s and the '90s. He represents Brembo, Sabelt and Alpinestars in the Philippines.