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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