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25 years of the BMW 3 Series Touring: Touring ancestor meets station wagon grandchildren

Wolfgang Groeger-Meier
25 years of the BMW 3 Series Touring
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E s is not an anniversary that is particularly loud is celebrated. Brand friends and managers alike agree that BMW backed the right horse when they added a practical body variant to the 3 Series and later also the 5 Series in 1987. It has now been 25 years since a combination model was found on the Bavarian price list for the first time - and yet the Munich-based company is reluctant to announce it or even hold festivities. This is not because the BMW 3 Series Touring would have been so unsuccessful. No, the reason for the Bavarian modesty is simply that people in Munich are reluctant to use the word 'Kombi'. BMW station wagons are called 'Touring' in brand jargon, although the wonderful but unfortunately commercially unsuccessful hatchback variant of the 02 series adorned itself with this addition as early as 1971. 'No station wagon, no anniversary', seems to be the motto.

Regardless, we'll make the story anyway and register our photo request in Munich. And lo and behold, just in time we can actually unite the first and the youngest generation of the BMW 3 Series Touring for a photo production.

Generation meeting of two BMW 3 Series Touring

Appearance of the brand new BMW 328i Touring, which perhaps embodies the brand essence better than any other model: a sporty sedan - but not just sporty. With the combination rear, which offers at least 495 liters of luggage space, the Bayer also scores in terms of functionality. And in addition to the well-known qualities in the areas of engine, transmission, chassis and steering that typically characterize a BMW, the BMW 3 Series Touring in 2012 also comes with pleasant extras such as automatic converter, electric tailgate or infotainment system. We could not have wished for a much greater contrast to its excellently preserved, but much more simply equipped station wagon ancestor.

The brilliant red BMW 318i Touring from the BMW Classic collection impresses us with its five-digit mileage , but also makes it clear that at the end of the 1980s the desire for equipment details that are taken for granted today was by no means as pronounced in this segment. Air conditioning, electric windows, power steering - none of them! 20 years ago, such comfort extras were reserved for the luxury segment and were also considered by the sporty, dynamic 3-person clienteleEvidence of effeminacy like an automatic.

From the BMW 318i Touring for car enthusiasts

The lack of the above Options do not detract from the joy of driving in the BMW 318i Touring. The heart of the car enthusiast in me already celebrates when I see the eighties version of the angled BMW cockpit, the four-spoke steering wheel of the pre-airbag era and the gear lever of the five-speed box. The ignition key gives the start command for the rapidly rotating starter, the noise of which instantly catapults me back to childhood and into the back seat of my father's 518. In the here and now the four-cylinder starts up and hums into an audible but steady idle.

The first gear engages easily, and after a few courageous turns on the wheel - that's right, no power steering - we line up in the Traffic a. Cautiously at first, but soon with more and more astonishment that this car has actually been around for over 20 years. Steering, brakes and gears - basically the entire operation - work so inconspicuously and precisely that some new cars could cut a slice of it. Meanwhile, the 1.8-liter vacuum cleaner of the BMW 3 Series Touring sings a happy song and, with its even power delivery, almost makes the six-cylinder versions that were coveted back then and now forgotten. That's a good thing, because they belong to a species that is dying out: In the current BMW 3 Series (F30 /31) there are only two of the nifty six-series models with the 335i and 330d. -headline__article - beta '> BMW 328i Touring presses occupants into their seats

When switching directly, it becomes clear how very modern cars isolate their drivers from the environment and operating noises. The engine of the new BMW 3 Series Touring starts at the push of a button and then sinks into the background noise of the surroundings. But woe when it is let go: If necessary, the 328i presses its occupants into their seats and heaves itself so forcefully towards the horizon that one is inclined to look for the M plate of the BMW sports models at the rear.

At the end of our little round in Munich, the two BMW 3 Series Touring vehicles roll into a parking lot in Garching and seem to be eyeing each other. 'Quite nimble' could be written in the thought bubble above the 318i. 'Pretty slim' in that of the 328i.

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