BMW is counting on the sixth generation of its 3-series station wagon to continue to be a heavyweight for the model range in two of Europe's top five markets.
The 3-series Touring accounts for just a quarter of the midsize model range's global sales, which are dominated by the sedan. However, the wagon represents 75 percent of the car line's volume in Italy and 66 percent in Germany.
That level of demand is why Europe accounts for more than 70 percent of global wagon sales, according to JATO Dynamics.
Broken down further, wagons make up nearly 20 percent of sales in Germany, Europe's biggest market.
The 3-series wagon also has a strong following in the UK and is offered in global markets such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Like its sedan sibling, the new 3-series wagon is longer, wider and taller. The length grows 79mm to 4709mm, the width gains 16mm to 1827mm and height is increased 8mm to 1470mm. In addition, the wheelbase is 41mm longer at 2851mm.
BMW says the wagon's look is sportier because it now has an upward sloping third window, that gives the car "a dynamic wedge shape that embodies its forward-surging intent."
The tweaks to the exterior also result in better aerodynamics as the drag coefficient is down to 0.27 compared with 0.29 for the previous-generation wagon.
The wagon's luggage capacity with five passengers has increased by 5 liters to 500 liters, boosting the maximum loading room 10 liters to 1510 liters. To improve the wagon's handling BMW increased the body rigidity by 25 percent compared with the model it replaces and gave the vehicle a new spring and damping system with lift-related damper control.
The wagon's powertrain family include a trio of diesel and three gasoline options. In an effort to help future-proof the wagon niche Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have added plug-in hybrid versions of the models. BMW will join the growing sector next summer with the 330e, which can travel 63 km in electric-only mode.
Another technological advancement the 3-series wagon offers is that the software for all of its electronic control units can be upgraded via over-the-air updates.