What is it?
The all-new BMW 3-series, tested here powered by a four cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
What’s it like?
It’s good-looking car, for starters. Outside and in, with a return to the 'driver-centred' cabin, clean aesthetics and wonderful fit and finish. And this 328i combines its impressive 242bhp with a CO2 score of just 147g/km.
It doesn't sound quite as a car badged 328i should. Udo Haenle, 3-series project chief, says his engineers considered electronic sound synthesis through the stereo system, BMW M5-fashion, to create a straight-six soundtrack, but he felt there was no point in hiding the fact that today's 328i has a 2.0-litre four with a turbocharger.
You're not particularly aware of engine noises anyway, because this is a quiet car whose ample maximum torque – 258lb ft – plateaus all the way from 1250rpm to 4800.
It hardly needs the optional (£1500) automatic's eight ratios, given that the manual still manages 149g/km with its six gears, and the resulting frequent gearshifts aren't always smooth unless you intervene with the paddleshifters.
But this 328i is a properly fast car, with 62mph claimed from a standstill in just 6.1 effortless seconds.