The temptation to award the 330d Touring five stars was difficult to resist. The refinement and performance of its six-cylinder powertrain make it a worthy diesel flagship; it handles very nearly as well and enjoyably as any 3 Series saloon; and it’s one of the more practical estates in its segment. That it can also average 42mpg without really trying and has a materially appealing, ergonomically sound cabin only amplify just how desirable and well rounded a machine it is.

However, there is a hefty price to pay for such excellence these days. Stricter emissions-based company car taxation means the car is now nearly twice as dear to tax as its predecessor was in 2012. And given the exceptional competence of the current 320d Touring models, that greater premium now seems harder to justify.

Powerful, classy and great to drive – but with a price to match

For those who can afford it, the 330d remains an open and shut case. After all, you’ll be buying what is probably the most multi-talented 3 Series – and therefore the most multi-talented compact exec – currently on sale. But it’s a lamentable shame that current tax rules have come down so hard on such an undeserving target.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - BMW 3 Series Touring