BMW 3-Series Touring: BMW takes on BMW

Choosing the best diesel

One of the surprises in running the 318d saloon was how good the diesel felt to drive. It is the same 2.0-litre engine as in the 320d but tuned for less outright power and better economy. On paper the 318d seems a lot less powerful (143bhp versus the 320d's 177bhp) but it isn't that much slower (0-62mph in 9.6 seconds versus 8.1 seconds for the 320d).

Claimed fuel consumption is nearly identical too with 59mpg for the 318d versus the 320d's 58mpg. And trying to spilt them on price doesn't really help matters with just over a grand separating the 318d SE Touring from the 320d SE Touring.

So how to choose? Well, given the experience of driving the 318d saloon, I found it to be a great performer on the road. The main difference was the need for more gear changes to stay in the power, especially going up steep hills. The 320d is much more flexible and has the ability to pull from lower down the rev range so there was less need to change down.

I also found it easier to hit higher average mpg figures and therefore greater tank ranges in 318d because revving it hard made little difference to going much faster. Accessing the power on the 320d is easier so hanging on to the same gear happens more often.

Given my commute is on winding country roads though, it didn't help fuel consumption. The gear change indicator is very helpful to maximise fuel efficiency but constant gear changes means more fuel used for less miles covered.

Current mileage: 7890

Average mpg: 46.2