Let’s get the extras dealt with first. Our test 330d came with the £750 Adaptive M Sport suspension option – whose damper firmness parameters can be adjusted via a switch on the dash – and Variable Sport Steering, a £250 option that means the steering is quicker on lock than it is around the straight-ahead.
The adaptive damping comes in place of standard steel springs (whose firmness depends on the trim level you’ve specified), and leaves the ride perfectly acceptable even on the runflat tyres that are standard on a 330d. Select Comfort mode (Sport and Sport+ are the other options) and while the BMW is not, say, Jaguar XE supple, against its more obvious German rivals the Touring lacks some of the refinement when it comes to ride quality.
Similarly, while our noise meter is out of action and awaiting calibration, to our ears the 330d offers a level of hush and refinement that is as good as anything at the price.
Elsewhere, the 330d seems largely unaffected by the addition of taller rear bodywork. It rides, steers and handles with the same panache as the regular 3 Series saloon, which means that it drives rather well indeed. Its steering is slick, and although there is little road feel to discern, it is accurate, responsive and free from stiction.
The handling, meanwhile, is as agile and sure-footed as we’ve come to expect from the latest-generation 3 Series. It displays a fine balance and has just the right amount of roll, pitch and dive to remind you that you are testing the chassis.
Braking is good in both wet and dry conditions – particularly so in the wet, where the 330d stopped in less than 50m from 70mph. An excellent result.