The best things in life are free. That’s what we want – and in the BMW 320d ES’s five-year or 60-000-mile servicing package, that’s what we get.
Company car drivers will be pleased that a reduction in the 320d’s emissions means it now skips the 3% tax penalty incurred by dirtier diesels, while fuel economy of 51.4mpg will please business and private users alike.
We needed no convincing of how well the 320d drives. It has a fluency through corners that marks it out as the driving benchmark of the class, and the steering is a lesson in uncluttered response and feel. The ride is never harsh or unforgiving, and refinement is excellent.
The 150bhp 2.0 turbodiesel engine has a hefty 243lb ft of punch at just 2000rpm for relaxed cruising and easy overtaking. Always hushed, it delivers performance to give its petrol-powered competition serious pause for thought.
All of the controls fall readily to hand and the driving position provides comfort for all shapes and sizes. Twin front, side and curtain airbags protect should the worst happen. It’s a little tight on legroom in the back and the boot is not as big as some rivals’, but the 320d is more than up to carrying a family of four on holiday in relaxed style.
Rivals face a hard time matching this model’s price and equipment, the ES having sports suspension, a CD player, alloy wheels and leather steering wheel as standard.
Highly recommended Audi A4 1.9 TDi (130) SE £21,230 Mercedes-Benz C180K Classic £19,995