Road test: BMW 330d Touring
What is it?
A favourite among the middle classes, management types, traffic cops – anyone in fact. Now in its sixth generation, the BMW 3 Series Touring has been a classic in estate car circles for thirty years. And, in 330d form it's the most powerful diesel in the range.
What's under the bonnet?
A lusty 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel. It's an engine which has respect the world over and, amazingly even lovers of petrol-powered BMWs seriously consider it if they need to reduce their fuel bills but not at the cost of performance. The mighty 3.0-litre packs 258bhp and a hefty 560Nm of torque. It means that the 330d Touring can get to 60mph in a frankly amazing 5.4 seconds while emitting just 135g/km of CO2. Meanwhile, on the combined cycle, it'll be returning a strong 55.4mpg, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission option.
What's the spec like?
You can choose the 3.0-litre diesel in any of the 3 Series Touring's specifications. The range kicks off with the SE at £35,030 and tops out at £38,030 for the M Sport variant. The 330d Modern Touring is probably the sensible pick of the range at £36,440, and comes with metallic paint and climate control. But our test car was the £37,530 Luxury, which spoilt us with its features. It was dripping with desirable kit such as toffee-coloured leather and Bluetooth – it left us wanting for nothing. Versions of the 330d with BMW's xDrive four-wheel-drive system cost £1,515 more.
Well – there are a number. Mercedes' C-Class is one that immediately springs to mind as does Audi's A4 Avant. While both match the BMW for badge snobbery, they cannot compete in the driving department – the 3 Series is head and shoulders above them. There's also the Volvo V60 for those after a more left-field choice – it's simple and comfortable cabin being major plus-points but there's no 3.0-litre diesel variant.
Is it any good?
On the road, there's nothing that can compare to the 330d. It's very sure-footed and there's a tremendous amount of feel through the steering. The engine is a little rattly but the power delivery is tremendously smooth – something that the eight-speed auto 'box just adds to. Our 330d Luxury was spacious, comfortable and luxurious – but it was the performance that really amazed. It'll keep up with machinery costing double the price.
The AOL Cars verdict
We don't often heap so much praise on a car at AOL Cars, but the 330d Touring is one of those rare motors that ticks virtually every box. It's practical, comfortable, good-looking, respectable, tasteful, fast and (fairly) cheap to run. For normal people, spending normal money on a car (yes, £38k does come into this category), the 330d Touring is probably the best car on the market.
Model: BMW 330d Luxury Touring
Engine: 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel
Power: 258bhp, 560Nm
Max speed: 155mph (limited)
0-60mph: 5.4 seconds
MPG: 55.4 (combined)
Emissions: 135g/km CO2