With prices that look very competitive with a like-for-like Audi A4 and appealing next to those of a Mercedes C-class, as well as residuals to shade both, this in another section in which the BMW 320d earns full marks.
Average mechanical refinement isn’t enough to cost the car much in the broadest sense.
The 320d’s economy is particularly impressive. Set to Eco Pro mode, the car’s trip computer read a barely believable 61.4mpg at the end of our touring fuel economy test – a return that remained deeply commendable even when calibrated in light of the trip computer’s tendency to overestimate efficiency (by 7.5 per cent, according to our tests).
That left the 320d’s real touring result at 56.8mpg; most similarly sized saloons still struggle to better 50mpg.
The only minor disappointment came when we repeated the touring test in Sport mode, in an attempt to confirm the 20 per cent improvement in economy BMW claims for Eco Pro. It returned ‘just’ 56.1mpg.
BMW's recent introduction of an Efficient Dynamics model to the 3-Series range should see these excellent figures climb even higher. Using a detuned version of the 320d's engine, BMW claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 68.9mpg, up from 61.4mpg for the regular 320d. It also offers the advantage of smaller wheels on higher profile tyres, further benefitting the ride.