Perhaps it’s slightly fortunate for BMW that a five-star Autocar road test rating can be recorded by the 320d without absolute perfection in every department. The new 3-series isn’t flawless, mainly because it’s still not the most refined premium-brand car in its class.
But, viewed with the proper perspective, it’s certainly “brilliant, unsurpassed, all but flawless” – our irreducible qualification for a maximum score.
The 3-series’ dynamic virtuosity has always stood out, but this new model’s superior sporting handling and performance, grown-up ride, exceptional economy and enhanced practicality demand ultimate recognition.
The car is a triumphant testament to BMW’s driver ethos and engineering prowess, and now stands head and shoulders above its competition, towering clearer of the pack than any other new BMW, or any other class-leading car, we can think of.