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

  • 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

    1
  • 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

    2
  • The Audi A4 saloon is bigger, roomier and more aerodynamic than its predecessor

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    3
  • The CC offers a handsome alternative to the staid Passat

    Volkswagen CC

    4
  • Volvo S60
    The Volvo S60 is offered with an impressive new D4 diesel engine

    Volvo S60

    5

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