The 318i and 320i with the N43 engines are best avoided really – they do nothing as well as a 318d or 320d, use more fuel and can rack up some scary bills, although they don’t all go wrong. No, a late 2.0d is a great car and the Efficient Dynamics model with those smart alloys in a good colour (white or a Le Mans blue look nice), are worth having and they don’t look similar to an M Sport at first glance. Timing chain issue apart, they’re a good reliable car in general. The F30, though, is just a nicer car. It rides better, has a better interior but, of course, suffers with a few troubles – condensation in the headlights and knocking steering racks are the main ones.
Left: A late, LCI E90 3 Series was much better than the early examples… Right: … but not as good an all-round proposition as the F30.