The 330d is fitted with BMW’s excellent eight-speed auto gearbox.

Almost impossible to fluster, its smooth and well-timed shifts mean you forget it’s there most of the time, and as with most modern autos it’s very economical.

There’s no manual option on the 330d to compare it with, but on smaller-engined models the auto is more efficient than the manual.

And despite occasionally immersing myself in the car’s addictive performance, I still feel no need to use the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel, which is another endorsement for the auto’s prowess.