BMW‘s 3-series Touring is a largely bread and butter car for the fleet market, with corporate buyers making up almost 60% of its 320d sales.

The revamped version displays little evident change – even down to emissions, which at 128g/km are down by only 2g/km on the predecessor. This means, however, that fleets are future-proofed for 18% BIK until 2012 because, as CO2 bandings fall in the forthcoming tax year, the 18% BIK category drops from 130g/km to 125g/km. In 2012, this banding will become 120g/km, but chances are BMW’s emissions will have lowered even further by then.

The 320d estate accounts for almost half of all Touring sales, but this is expected to shift with the introduction of a new 318d estate, which is now sub-120g/km CO2. Such stats mean many business buyers will lean toward a slightly less powerful engine for taxation benefits.

The 320d SE BusinessCar drove did exactly what you expect of a BMW, being well-balanced with sufficient torque and good handling.

On the downside, the engine seemed noisier than expected and gear lever movement could have been slicker.

Although not a new comparison, if fleets look at the 320d SE against an equivalent Vauxhall Insignia estate, cost per mile favours the initially more expensive BMW at 58.3p compared to 59.2p. While the Insignia Sports Tourer SE CDTi 160 Ecoflex 2.0-litre is £2660 cheaper and costs less in terms of insurance, finance and employer national insurance, its residual value of 27.3% is notably lower than the Touring’s 39.6%. CO2 is also two bandings higher on the Insignia at 138g/km – this falls under 19% BIK come April, rising to 20% in 2012.

The 320d Touring’s revisions don’t set hearts racing but drivers wanting a reliable, good-looking, good-value estate will no doubt opt for this.