Yesterday BMW of North America released the first official details of the new F31 3 Series wagon. For BMW enthusiasts the wagon represents the ultimate family vehicle with it’s low kerb-weight and sedan-like reflexes. Even with BMWNA only offering the lower power engine option on every 3er wagon ever sold in the US, it still had the honor of being the thinking man’s family car.
But one thing was a little vague in yesterday’s official release. There was no overt mention of the historically standard manual transmission. Could it be that the days of the manual transmission BMW wagon are over in the US?
We reached out for BMWNA for an official comment. The answer was not unexpected; the F31 3 Series wagon will only come with an automatic transmission presumably due to low-take rates of the manual in the E91. And strangely we’re not that sad. Sure the manual is the right choice for the purist and provides greater control and feel. But the nature of the 2.0 N20 engine’s power band and BMW’s expectational 8-speed automatic transmission make a compelling combination. Not only is the 8 speed faster and more efficient than the manual, it’s damn near as rewarding. With incredibly quick shifts, blips of the throttle on downshifts and well designed (optional) steering wheel mounted paddles, it can be both fun on twisty roads and transparent in heavy commuting. Exactly the kind of attributes 3 Series wagons have always been known for.
As 3er wagon owners have always known, it’s imperative that one navigates around options such as all-wheel drive and makes sure the sport package box is checked to get the “right wagon”. Now you’ll need to add to that steering wheel mounted shift paddles for the full experience.
Will that experience live up to an E46 or E91 sport wagon with a manual? Look for our full review to answer that question.