Our cars: BMW 3 Series - June

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BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series 320d Sport auto

Week ending June 29
Mileage 1350
Driven this week: 800

Read the full What Car? BMW 3 Series review

Now that that BMW has crossed the 1200-mile threshold and it's fully run in – according to the handbook anyway – it's time to start evaluating some of its options.

BMW HQ specced up our test car, so we didn't get to choose all of the extras they gave us, but the one that we certainly approve of is the one that you can't see: the £750 Adaptive suspension.

Sure it's pricey – but it transforms the way that the 3 Series drives. Of course, it only turns the very good into the excellent, but there's a tangible difference to the way our new 320d Sport rides and handles to versions that I've sampled without the option.

Basically, one of the car's computer brains manages each individual damper and adjusts it according to road conditions. So, in theory it does a better job of delivering a more supple ride and stopping the body moving around than on the standard car.

It works wonders too. On a cross-country drive with four-up the other day, I was able to really 'enjoy' myself while my passengers were convinced that we were going around 20mph slower than we actually were because the car felt so unruffled.


Week ending June 22
Mileage 550
Driven this week 550 miles

This is the latest addition to the What Car? long-term fleet: a BMW 3 Series saloon.

The model we've gone for is our award winner: the 320d. Yes, there are more frugal members of the range, but this is the sweet spot because it's capable of 146mph and around 60mpg on the motorway.

We've also specified an eight-speed auto 'box. At £1660, it's not a cheap option but, according to official figures, it improves both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – not normally the case with a self-shifter. It should improve residual values too at this end of the market.

We also chose Sport trim. It does add £1000 to the bill, but gets you a smarter interior, better seats and a nattier steering wheel. Other options include the £750 Adaptive M Sport suspension, essential according to our road testers for improving both ride and handling.

It's also in smart Melbourne red metallic, which shows off the handsome new lines extremely well in my opinion.

The only downside is that there's a 1200 mile running in period according to the handbook. So, another (frustrating) 700 miles of being careful with that throttle before we can let rip.


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