BMW's last luxury wagon is pretty cool.
If an engineer wants to make a vehicle handle well, they lower the suspension. By all accounts then, station wagons should handle far better than lifted crossovers, which sacrifice center of gravity for a raised ride height and the illusion of off-road ability. Despite this, a harsh stigma of "uncoolness" still surrounds wagons in the United States after an entire generation of children was toted around in boxy Volvos and fake-wood paneled Caprices.
There are very few wagons on sale in the US in 2020, which is why the body style accounts for just 1.4 percent of overall sales volume. Even BMW, a brand that has long embraced the idea of a sporty wagon, no longer offers one in the US market. The 2019 BMW 3 Series Wagon (F31 generation) was the last long roof car we got from Bavaria and now, used examples are very affordable.
Station wagons offer a best-of-both-worlds approach to practicality and driving dynamics. They offer comparable storage space as crossovers but since they sit low to the ground, they still handle like a normal sedan or coupe. The F31 3 Series Wagon was not the most performance-oriented model we've ever seen but it does offer attractive styling, a well-appointed interior, and two drivetrain options. Since BMW will not offer the new 3 Wagon here in the US, buying a used F31 is the only way to get a relatively modern BMW wagon.
The F31 3 Series wagon was sold from 2014 to 2019 and prices range highly depending on the year, equipment, and mileage. On the low end, early examples near the 100,000-mile mark start around $11,000 to $14,000. Very low mileage examples with a certified pre-owned BMW warranty can command over $40,000. BMW's CPO program includes a one-year/unlimited-mile warranty.
BMW only offered a handful of configurations on the 3 Series Wagon including a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine and a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel. 2014 to 2016 models with the gas engine were known as the 328i and included a 2.0-liter engine producing 241 horsepower. In 2017, the 328i was changed to the 330i, which received an increase to 248 hp. There was also the 328d, which produced only 180 hp but a chunky 280 lb-ft of torque.
All 3 Series wagons were equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission going out to an xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The 328i and 330i models were pretty zippy with a 0-60 mph time of around 5.5 seconds while the 328d took around 7.5 seconds.
Unless you look in the rearview mirror, there isn't much to differentiate a 3 Series Wagon's cabin from the sedan. Most of these cars came pretty well-optioned with iDrive navigation, heated seats, and Bluetooth, but some models did leave the factory with a smaller head unit offering a paired down infotainment experience. Being less than a decade-old at this point, the F31's cabin doesn't seem highly out of date compared to a modern BMW outside of the analog gauge cluster.
Where the 3 Series Wagon branches away from its sedan counterpart is behind the rear seats. While the sedan only offered 13 cubic feet of space, the wagon holds 17.5 cubic feet behind the second row with room for nearly 53 cubic feet with the seats folded. There is even additional, hidden storage space underneath the load floor.
Both examples of the 3 Wagon were quite frugal, even with xDrive. The 328i could achieve 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway while the 330i even improved the city fuel economy by one mpg. With the 328d, you could get up to 31 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, though the EPA later lowered these numbers down to 30 and 40 mpg, respectively. If you ask owners, those figures are highly conservative.
Even though BMW never offered the F31 3 Series Wagon with a manual transmission, six-cylinder engine, or a sporty M version, we still think it would make a great daily driver for an enthusiast. Prices are now very affordable and with no new BMW wagons on the horizon, this may be your last option to buy one. We would recommend the more frugal diesel model with its juicy 280 lb-ft of torque or if you are feeling truly ambitious, buy a cheap one and swap in the engine from an M3.