• 330d is the first six-cylinder diesel in the new 3-series range
  • Multi-spoke 18-inch alloys standard with Luxury spec
  • Luxury trim also brings chrome exterior trim
  • Boot access made easier by separately opening hatchback glass
  • Heavily creased panels reflect the current BMW design trend
  • Centre console is properly converted for right-hand drive with buttons conveniently placed
  • Standard leather colours are black, beige or brown
  • Rear passenger space is a vast improvement over previous 3-series'
  • Dials are clear, sharp and easy to read
  • Luxury trim adds classy wood finishes
  • Boot loading lip is slightly proud of the rear bumper to prevent scuffed paintwork
  • Twenty years ago, the 300d would have been considered junior-supercar fast
  • Small-ish fuel tank gives an acceptable, but not impressive range
  • Updated engine gets a twin-scroll, variable geometry turbocharger
  • Brakes are strong, with good performance and feel
  • Extra weight of the six-cylinder engine blunts turn-in response slightly
  • Another landmark diesel BMW. Pricey after options, but worth every penny

Most of the rules that applied to the 320d saloon we road tested in February continue to apply in the 330d. The 3-series Touring has a feel-good cabin with an attractively designed dashboard – BMW calls its cascading swathes of soft-touch plastics ‘layering’ – that is also high on ergonomic excellence.

If you can’t get comfortable in these front seats, you’re a shape unlike any of our diversely proportioned testers. But given that they’re optional sports seats (at £410) with electric adjustment (£910), lumbar support (£235) and heating (£300), you’d hope so. A vastly adjustable steering column completes an ensemble that would probably give you several agreeable driving positions rather than just the one.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The surface finishes in this Luxury trim 3-series are much more pleasing to our eyes than the gaudier options in Sport-trimmed Threes

Over the years the 3-series Touring has apparently been honed to be as economically proportioned as it needs to be, and not a single millimetre bigger. Our ‘typical’ rear legroom figure, which is the amount left when the driver wants 890mm of room (the average amount), matches it precisely, also at 890mm. Rear headroom is a perfectly acceptable 970mm.

Where you will find a compromise for having a ‘premium’ car is in the boot. The Touring’s 495-litre load bay is bigger than that of its immediate rivals – and 15 litres bigger to the tonneau than the saloon’s – but still not huge. At 1500 litres all in with the seats folded, this is less room than you’ll find in cheaper volume alternatives such as the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508 or Skoda Superb. You’re paying here for performance and cachet, not space. Fittingly, then, the rear screen opens without having to lift the whole tailgate, electric opening is standard and our car came with a £470 ‘comfort access’ option, which allows the boot to open by way of a foot waved beneath the rear bumper.

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