|Annual road tax||£175|
|Service intervals||1 year/16,000|
|Euro NCAP rating||5-star|
The fact that this year's overall executive and luxury category winner has come from the lower price point reinforces just how impressive BMW's 3 Series remains. It outshone far more expensive cars with its remarkable blend of refinement, cabin quality and comfort for a relatively modest price.
This generation of 3 Series set the benchmark for how a compact executive car should handle. It grips well, it feels poised and steers accurately. The suspension is firm, but never overly so.
All drivers should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel because there's plenty of adjustment in the front seats and steering wheel. All but the tallest passengers will find the back seats comfortable as well.
The 3 Series does frugal, too. The 2.0-litre diesel 320d was uprated to 174bhp in 2007 and has a healthy 251lb ft of torque, yet you can expect to better 40mpg.
SE trim is the best-value choice. It adds reversing sensors and a multi-function steering wheel to the alloy wheels and front foglights of ES models, and it gets a CD player, air-conditioning and all-round electric windows as standard.
The 3 Series also scores well as family transport, because it achieved a five-star NCAP rating overall and a strong four-star child protection score.