Which used BMW 3 Series estate should I buy?
There isn't a bad BMW 3 Series Touring – or even a disappointing one. The best two are the petrol 318i and the diesel 320d, with the 318i's lower prices making it our preferred option. However, if you cover high mileages or regulary carry big loads, the better economy and greater pull of the diesel car may be more attractive.
Each engine has its own strengths, but the 1.9-litre unit in the 316i is weak for a car of this size, and the 320d is worth the extra over the 318d. Gearboxes aren't a worry: manuals are slick, autos smooth.
On most early models, trim comes in (unbadged) standard or SE forms, but Sport and ES gradually joined the range over the years. On early cars, the SE's extra equipment makes it the one to go for, but on later cars, ES is the top choice - it has much of the SE's attractions at a lower price.