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Awards 2012 - Upper Medium: BMW 3-series

Date: 24 January 2012

It would be easy to praise the new, sixth-generation 3-series for its multitude of merits - after all, we gave it 9/10 in our November 2011 road test - but that model doesn't reach the UK until February, so it's even more of a testament to the outgoing version that BusinessCar readers voted it their best upper medium car so late in its lifetime.

The 3-series' huge success has seen it muscle in on everyman contenders such as the Ford Mondeo. Drive one and you'll see where the appeal lies, as it rides and handles with superb comfort and precision. The badge ensures desirability remains great and RVs follow suit, while the vast range gives fleet users a superb level of choice, although it's difficult to better the 2.0-litre turbodiesel variants - the 316d, 318d and 320d - all of which offer an excellent mix of low running costs and impressive performance. The cleanest and the most attractive to fleets is the Efficient Dynamics model, which musters 163hp along with emissions of 109g/km and combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg. The new 3-series has yet to better that benchmark emissions figure, but BMW has told BusinessCar that a sub-100g/km model will be along within its lifetime.