• 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

The keen-eyed among you might realise that the 330d Touring scores half a star less than the 320d saloon we road tested earlier this year. It was tempting to dish out another full-mark ranking, it’s true, because the 330d is a more pleasurable car to drive than a 320d in every way. But we couldn’t quite shift the nagging feeling that with its excellence comes a penalty that should cost it just half a star.

That penalty is what seems like the necessity to increase the list price from a not-unreasonable £37,200 to a figure well above £40,000 in order to get the optimum driving experience. That should not, however, detract from the rare brilliance of this car’s powertrain, whose performance and economy are of the highest order.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
This car's powertrain really is worth the extra outlay over the 320d

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