With the cost of fuel still taking its toll on the residual values of high-powered machinery, now is a great time to take advantage the effortless pace and good economy of sporty diesels.

330d Just look at what you can find for less than £15k.

Our pick is the pre-facelift BMW 330d saloon. The 155mph compact exec can hit 60mph in 6.5sec and still return over 40mpg. This 55-plater looks like an ex- company car if we ever saw one, but it’s great value at £15k, especially as it has only covered 32,000 miles since new.

If you want a bit of French hot hatch flair, there’s the current-gen Renault Megane 175 Renaultsport. The diesel-powered Renaultsport will do 600 miles between fill-ups and is now turning up in classifieds at attractive prices. This 57-plate, 26,000-mile example has shed £6000 in just one year and can be snapped up for a very reasonable £13,000.