On a long road trip, a good travelling companion and plenty of good music are ‘musts’.
Just as important, though, is the car you do it in, and our 320d GT test car acquitted itself admirably, dispatching 2600km of touring through coastal and country New South Wales with ease and aplomb.
It’s longer (body and wheelbase), taller, and there’s more rear legroom (+ 70mm) than either sedan or Touring wagon variants. The 520-litre boot, also larger than the wagon, swallows plenty of luggage. The relocatable cargo tie-eyes, a large storage box below the boot floor, and a power tailgate are all handy features. The sports seats, part of the ‘no charge’ Sport Line option, offer excellent support and comfort that endures as the kilometres roll by. Their wind-in bolsters make for that ‘perfect fit’ around the torso.
The diesel with variable-geometry turbo combines with the eight-speed auto perfectly for responsive robust performance, and prompt effortless highway passing. And with impressive fuel economy to boot, it confirms large displacement petrol engines with their thirst for fuel are well outmoded for long distance travel.
Poised on its optional adaptive M suspension system ($2200) and 18”, 50 series run-flats, our test car proved satisfyingly dynamic, as expected of a 3-series, through the twistier sections. It grips and steers well, turns in purposefully and takes quick changes of direction in its stride.