• 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

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 XF supple, against its more obvious German rivals the 330d Touring has precisely nothing to fear when it comes to ride quality.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Oversteer in the 300d is both progressive and adjustable

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.

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