Let’s get the extras dealt with first. Our test 330d came with the Adaptive M Sport suspension option – whose damper firmness parameters can be adjusted via a switch on the dash – and Variable Sport Steering, 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 XE supple, against its more obvious German rivals the Touring lacks some of the refinement when it comes to ride quality.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Oversteer in the 330d 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.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Compact saloons

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the BMW range

Driven this week

  • BMW X3
    Car review
    19 January 2018
    The stakes have never been higher for BMW’s mid-sized SUV, now the X3 in its third generation. So can it deliver?
  • Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    19 January 2018
    Better looks, better value, better range, stronger performance and a quiet and relaxing drive make the Nissan Leaf a leading EV contender again
  • Volkswagen Up GTI
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Funky, light, enjoyable and even reasonably priced, the Volkswagen Up GTI is a car to be appreciated on its own compelling terms
  • Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110 Redline
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Our first flavour of the 1.0 TSI-engined Skoda Fabia on UK roads shows it’s versatile but not all that sporty
  • Ford Ecosport 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Zetec front
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Can the updated Ford Ecosport improve its reputation and become the small SUV of choice, or is it another misguided effort from the Blue Oval?