18 January 2005

We might still be in its first month, but Autocar has already driven the most important car of 2005. This week, you can find out why BMW's new 3-series is that car, and read our exclusive verdict on whether Munich's miracle-workers have improved on a class-winner.

'Thirty years on, the 3-series has turned from a low-volume niche product into a rampant sales machine,' explains Andrew Frankel in his first drive of BMW's new 330i. 'It remains as aspirational as ever,' he goes on, 'and though this one might be conservative, cautious and entirely evolutionary, it is also a triumph.'

But enough of a triumph to deal Audi's revised A4 a knockout punch? That's what Ben Oliver decides in Autocar's twin test: BMW 320d vs Audi A4 2.0 TDI. 'The BMW 3-series gave its name to a whole sector of the car market,' he writes - 'the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-class are 3-series rivals, and never the other way around.' And the result? 'We're not going to say that the new 3-series is the best car in its class until we're driven them all together in the UK,' Ben continues, 'but we don't see the name of the 3-series segment changing any time soon.'Read both verdicts on BMW's new Three in Autocar this week

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Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf

Just how good is the mighty Volkswagen Golf? The seventh generation of Europe's best selling car has been facelifted to keep its nose ahead of its rivals

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week