No voodoo has been employed in delivering BMW’s remarkable sales success in the UK, which has been brought about largely via the fleet sector. The company offers its models – crucially, its diesels – at competitive list prices (which translate into equally competitive P11D values), and fits them with some of the lowest-emitting engines on the market.

For all its power and performance, the 330d Touring is very much sprung from the same mould. It’s taxable some three bands lower than its next lowest-rated rival, which puts about £450 a year back into your pocket if you run one as a company car, relative to an equivalent Mercedes-Benz C-class or Audi A4.

Nic Cackett

Road tester
On a long motorway cruise we saw 53.6mpg, though you'll see more than that if you're careful

Residuals are strong, too, boosting the car’s credentials for both retail and fleet. The only bugbear is the cost of options and the number of them you’ll be prevailed upon to take up. It’s very easy to add 25 per cent to the cost of the car before you’ve exhausted the options catalogue, and it will be hard to escape the showroom if you haven’t parted with at least £3000 for items without which, the salesman will tell you, your car will be next to unsaleable secondhand. Just don’t be afraid to expect money off a well stocked car.

Top 5 Compact execs

  • Jaguar's new four cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine comes with either 161bhp or 178bhp outputs

    Jaguar XE

  • BMW 3-series
    The 3-series remains strong in the areas it has always excelled but now it's more rounded than ever

    BMW 3 Series (2012-2014)

  • Mercedes-Benz C-class
    The C-class shares a lot of its looks with the new S-class, furthering its desirability

    Mercedes-Benz C-class

  • The Audi A4 saloon is bigger, roomier and more aerodynamic than its predecessor

    Audi A4 (2008-2014)

  • Volvo S60
    The Volvo S60 is offered with an impressive new D4 diesel engine

    Volvo S60


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Track Edition GT-R takes key elements from the range-topping GT-R Nismo and offers them at a more affordable price
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    We've driven the Golf R Estate abroad and thought it was top drawer, but we need a UK drive to be sure. Here we do just that
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Does Hyundai’s entry-level diesel leave us feeling short-changed? We drive it on UK roads to find out
  • First Drive
    1 October 2015
    'New' turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine is entry-level route into the X-Trail range, but is it worth it in this range-topping trim over a diesel alternative?
  • Car review
    1 October 2015
    Is it seventh time lucky for Vauxhall’s British-built Focus fighter?