Our cars: BMW 3 Series - July
Week ending July 27
Driven this week: 680 miles
Read the full BMW 3 Series review
I like heading home to Dundee for the odd holiday. It gives me a chance to catch up with old friends and, ahem, old family. There is a downside though, because I find I tend to get roped into doing jobs. The conversation usually starts: ‘Well, while you're here, I thought…’
So it proved last week. My brother's garden was getting to the stage where he needed a machete, not a Flymo, to sort it out, so sure enough the plea duly came. I was worried, firstly because I had only a BMW 3 Series to cart garden rubbish to the tip, and secondly because that BMW has only recently been acquired by editor-in-chief Chas Hallett, and he’s still going through that ‘loving the new car’ stage. Scratches from thorns were to be avoided at all costs.
I shouldn't have been concerned. The BMW's boot took a full six bags of rubbish, and the rear seat a further three, so two trips to the tip were all that was required. Best of all, when thorny branches defeated the garden bags’ integrity, the car's plastics proved impervious to them.
One thorough clean inside and out, and it was like the foliage had never been there. Phew!
Week ending July 20
Driven this week: 684 miles
The 3 Series is enjoying the delights of eastern Scotland this week. I grabbed the key to the BMW because I knew the 320d would be great company for my holiday up in Dundee and its environs.
So it has proved so far; it was comfortable on the early-morning motorway schlep up and decent fun once I got to the gnarly stuff near where we're staying. The fact that it managed an average of 48.6mpg on a reasonably brisk trip up was welcome, too.
It has even impressed my dad, a confirmed Jaguar fan, who grudgingly admitted: ‘Aye, it's comfortable. Smooth, too, and nice inside.'
My wife, Sue, didn't like sitting in the rear seat, though. She found it claustrophobic and sickness-inducing – and no, it wasn't my driving. We can only put it down to the fact that the rear quarters are somewhat oppressively dark, especially so with the darkly tinted rear windows of our car.
Week ending July 13
Driven this week: 642 miles
When readers ask me whether buying a used BMW 3 series is a good idea, I more often than not say yes. My general advice is they are solidly built, have genuinely decent fuel economy and will out-handle anything else. They should also be aware that they're expensive compared with rivals on the used market, and the manual gearboxes will be hard to get on with
Well, I can report that it's business as usual for the latest model. Our 320d provides all the power you're likely to need, through a smooth eight-speed gearbox. The adaptive suspension system really does change the dynamics of the car and, in Sport mode, it's good fun to drive.
I drove from London to the other side of Dorset and back on half a tank, too, averaging 49.2mpg. Not bad. It's an expensive prospect, a 3 Series, but total cost of ownership is definitely on its side. I'm extremely impressed.
strong>BMW 3 Series 320d Sport auto
Week ending July 6
Driven this week: 700 miles
I haven't driven a BMW 3 Series for ages - let alone the new one - so I jumped at the chance to take our new 320d for a few nights this week.
Excellent it was, too. The 2.0-litre diesel and gearbox are great, power delivery is smooth and it's extremely quick.
The best part of all is the interior. In the past, BMW cabins have been dark and dull affairs, but not this one. I like the subtle red stitching everywhere, while aluminium on the dash and doors adds a element of class and style and the red strip in body colour gives the dash a sporty feel. It's a great place to be and you just want to get in and drive this car for miles.
Now I can see why the guys were so quick to vote it as our best executive car.