From £21,970
Stylish and certainly stands out from mainstream competition. Refined, too, but lacks the sparkle of an Alfa 159 or build quality of a 3-series. Still worth a look, though.

What’s new?

Caddy’s baby European saloon gets four-pot turbocharged engine from the Saab 9-3, accompanied by a five-speed gearbox. It’s now the entry-level model for the range, undercutting the diesel version by around £700.

What’s it like?

Surprisingly refined, actually. The BLS is an accomplished motorway cruiser, with very little engine noise at cruising speed. The ride is a little fidgety and there’s a reasonable amount of road noise, but there are far worse places in which to tackle a long journey.

At least, that’s the case for front-seat passengers – those in the back will find the lack of legroom annoying after the first few miles.

Steering is direct, if a touch light for our taste, and the ‘box feels precise, albeit with a relatively long throw. The interior is reasonably well finished and spec includes air con and CD player, but the huge steering wheel would look more at home in a giant American SUV.

Should I buy one?

If you like a bit of quirkiness in your choice of saloon, then you should have a look. It undercuts its natural rival and sister motor, the Saab 9-3, by around £600, and is just as handsome and almost as idiosyncratic. Just don’t expect it to worry the mainstream competition or offer as much driver enjoyment as an Alfa 159.

 

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