What is it?
We've heaped praise on the new-generation BMW 320d, and said good things about the 328i despite its lack of two cylinders compared with past wearers of that badge. Now it's the turn of the only new 3-series, so far, to have a petrol-fuelled straight six under the bonnet.
What’s it like?
You feel like you've returned home as soon as you press the start button. Here is a well-specced 3-series which makes the sound you expect: a smooth, creamy hum with a crisp edge when roused a bit. This engine is well known from other BMWs, a 3.0-litre unit whose twin-scroll turbocharger helps it to 302bhp and 295lb ft of torque, matched here to an eight-speed automatic transmission which accounted for £1660 of the already Luxury-spec test car's £12,835 option tally (which also included a stupendous stereo system).
The pace is predictably rapid, with 62mph claimed to arrive 5.5sec after blast-off despite the Efficient Dynamics-enhanced CO2 score of 169g/km. The economy this promises doesn't quite materialise in practice, but the trip-computer average of 30.5mpg over a week's motorway-biased driving is acceptable given the performance on offer. That's after making very little use of the Eco Pro mode, which flattens the performance to the point where you might just as well have bought a 320d.