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New models - BMW - 3 Series

BMW adds small wagon

Load-lugger: The 3 Series wagon will be powered by a 2.2-litre six-cylinder engine.

Latest 3 Series version here in June

25 Feb 2002

BMW Australia will launch a wagon version of the 3 Series at the Melbourne motor show this week, with sales commencing in June.

The 320i touring will be powered by BMW's 2.2-litre inline six-cylinder engine, producing 125kW at 6100rpm and 210Nm of torque at 3500rpm, booting it to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 224km/h.

The E46 320i touring is priced from $65,000 equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission and from $67,600 with the optional five-speed automatic transmission.

The 320i can swallow a payload of 540kg with the seats ups, or up to 1345 litres with the split rear seat fully folded.

Standard equipment includes ABS, Automatic Stability Control (ASC+T), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), 16-inch alloy wheels, 225/50 R16 tyres, foglights, heated exterior mirrors and windscreen washer jets, roofs rails and a rear roof spoiler incorporating the third brake light.

Inside, there's leather upholstery, climate control air-conditioning, eight separate front, side and head airbags and a standard retractable cargo net.

An in-dash CD player, leather sports steering wheel with multifunction/cruise control and a 12-volt power outlet in the luggage compartment, are also standard equipment.

BMW expects to sell around 250 3 Series tourings annually, and BMW spokesman John Kananghinis forecast it would outsell the Mercedes-Benz C-class: "We'll do at least the number that Benz is doing and be looking to do much better than that."He also expressed confidence the small luxury wagon segment would survive in the face of growing opposition from the likes of luxury four-wheel drive. Audi, for example, has abandoned the traditional A4 wagon and is instead pushing the allroad cross-over.

"There is always a market at a small level, you have to be realistic about the market size," he said. "But given that our market size in total has grown it has come to a point where we believe it is sustainable."Mr Kananghinis predicted the 3 series touring would both grow the market segment and also eat into the sales of rivals.

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