In the closely fought compact executive market, one model stands out from the rest: the BMW 3-Series. It has history stretching back to the 1980s and has built a solid reputation, and is the car of choice for every young middle manager. It's not that 3-Series lacks any serious rivals: the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is as prestigious; the Lexus IS will push it on reliability, while a fully loaded Ford Mondeo is better value.
But it’s only the 3-Series, with its purposeful yet conservative styling, which has struck a chord with the British. Its popularity has not weakened residuals; even with plenty of used ones about, prices are remarkably stable.