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Future models - BMW - 3 Series - 335i Touring

First drive: Twin turbos for small wagon

Fast families: 335i badge on 3 Series wagon spells rapid cargo.

BMW fits its blistering new twin-turbo petrol six to the 3 Series Touring

23 Jul 2007

IT IS not signed, sealed and delivered yet, but waiting lists out to next year for BMW’s arm-stretching twin-turbo petrol six have prompted BMW Australia to investigate the business case for yet another 335i-badged model.

Released recently in Germany, the 335i Touring is odds-on to join the brilliant 335i coupe, 335i convertible and 335i sedan on sale here in the second quarter of 2008.

14 center imageLike the 335i sedan (and unlike the 335i coupe and convertible), the twin-turbo 3 Series wagon will be an auto-only proposition in Australia, and comes as an additional variant to the entry-level 323i Touring.

The 335i Touring auto sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 5.9 seconds – one-tenth quicker than the auto 335i Convertible but one-tenth slower than the 335i auto sedan and two-tenths slower than the 335i auto coupe.

It will be positioned between the sedan and convertible in terms of pricing, which at around $115,000 represents a $45,000-odd premium over the 323i Touring ($68,900 manual, $71,500 auto).

Drive impressions:

WE drove the new 335i Touring in both six-speed manual and automatic guises and I never thought I'd say it, but in this case the automatic is the better bet.

Silky-smooth, almost impeceptible gearchanges both up and down and the ability to retain more turbo boost from the brilliant twin-turbo petrol six in more circumstances make it the most logical choice.

And who would want a manual wagon anyway?Make no mistake: with the same 225kW/400Nm output of its coupe, sedan and convertible stablemates, the 335i Touring auto is a devastatingly quick compact wagon, as its performance figures attest.

It is just one-tenth slower to 100km/h than the sedan and two-tenths slower than the (auto) coupe.

Crucially, however, it's quicker than the auto convertible, which carries more wight, less luggage and costs considerably more.

When it arrives towards the middle on 2008, BMW expects to sell far fewer than the 100-120 examples of the $45,000-cheaper 323i Touring it sells (in both auto and manual forms) annually.

Yes, at around the same price as the 335i coupe, the 335i Touring will remain unique as an exclusive small wagon that happens to be powered by one of BMW's finest engines ever.

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