Our cars: BMW 3 Series - January
Week ending January 25
Driven this week: 250 miles
Read the full BMW 3 Series review
After doing a trip up the M1 last weekend, I noticed for the first time that a lot more 3 Series are appearing on UK roads.
It's a great car, and many people are cottoning on to that. My favourite of all the cars I saw was the same model as ours but in white; it certainly shows off the styling better, especially around the headlights and bonnet, where it looked far more aggressive.
When you add wider wheels and low-profile tyres to that equation it looks even better, I think.
Week ending January 18
Driven this week: 350 miles
Life must be pretty good for BMW dealers at the moment. That's the impression I got when I rang around trying to get a price for our BMW 320d’s first service, because not many of them seemed to want my business.
First, not one of the five local dealers I called could give me a price straight away. Even service receptionists – who you think would know – needed to speak to someone else and then call me back. Two of them didn't even bother to do that.
Even those that did get back to me wouldn't just give me a price. They wanted to collect all of my details beforehand, presumably so that they could then bombard me with direct marketing.
I don't mind giving my name and registration number, but do they really need the chassis number of my car and my address in order to give me a quote? Especially as I explained I was just shopping around to get the most favourable price.
Finally, I made a booking at a dealer in Hertfordshire – which is close to one of my colleagues – whose quote was £100 cheaper than one from a dealer closer to the office.
I hope that they can restore my faith in BMW customer service.
By Chas Hallett
Week ending January 4
Driven this week: 720 miles
I've been driving our long-term 320d over the festive period and trips to Dorset, Norfolk and Sussex offered great opportunities to see how good this car is compared with the Mercedes CLS 250 CDI I previously ran.
The CLS is twenty grand dearer, so the real surprise is the 320D's engine. It's very smooth and quiet – especially on long runs and with five people on board – and it proved to be equally refined.
I can see why this car is a class leader, thanks to its ability to do everything so well, in such an understated way. It's very rewarding to look out the window every morning knowing that this car will deliver when you want it to without any fuss.