Scrappage special - Buyer's guide - Executive cars
Target Price £23,183
The 320d has been top dog of the compact executive class for four years – and still heads the field by some margin.
Yes, the 3 Series really does have it all – superb road manners, a great image, excellent refinement and plenty of pace.
It's a sensible choice, too. As well as delivering near 60mpg fuel economy, this 174bhp diesel version costs just £120 a year to tax.
ES may be the entry-level trim, but it gets all the must-haves – including alloys and air-conditioning – and is £1300 cheaper than the SE.
Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI SE
Target Price £23,149
Average economy 47.9mpg
Not as frugal as the 3 Series, but the C-Class is a tad cheaper to buy and should hang onto its value better than the BMW.
This 168bhp diesel is our pick of the range, and we'd go for the SE model. It gets all the essential goodies (including alloys and climate control) and because it's set up for comfort, it beats the Sport models for ride quality.
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