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For the price of a new BMW 320d, you could rather be driving one of these…

The all-new BMW 3-series (G20-generation) is by all accounts a step in the right direction for the Munich car maker’s compact executive sedan. It returns to its roots of a rewarding driving tool as well as bringing more technology to their bread-and-butter model.

Apart from the M340i xDrive and the halo M3, the 320d has always been a highly regarded sedan, In fact, Chris Harris of Top Gear TV has said it is all the car the average person would need in life. So, using that as our baseline, a new BMW 320d (without any extras) comes in at an eye-watering R683,866. Perennial rivals the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A6 2.0-litre diesel derivatives will set you back at R763,127 for the C220d while the A4 40TDI is a relative bargain at R586,000.

As enticing as a brand-new compact executive sedan might seem when parked on your driveway, don’t forget to factor in the near-on 20% depreciation for the car’s first few months.

Image:  BMW Group PressClub

Is that really the best way to climb the executive ladder of automotive aspirations for R683,866? Is it the best car you can buy from this German manufacturer for near on three-quarters of a million Rands? Not when you stop to search the pre-owned listings and showroom floors of your local, trusted dealer…

2018 BMW 540i

Image: Cars.co.za

This is most certainly a lot of car for your hard-earned money. It is larger, more sporty, is packed with my safety systems and luxury features than the standard 320d. In this shade of blue, that M Sport package, Gesture Control inside and a more interior space and rear legroom, that fantastic 3.0-litre turbocharged engine with 250kW, it says more about your style, savviness and personality than the 320d when you park next to your director in the parking lot. See this particular one with 28,000km on the odometer, the balance of its Factory Warranty and Service Plan, and price of R699,000.

2016 Mercedes-Benz E350d AMG

Image: Cars.co.za

Another heavy-hitter is this spectacular Mercedes-Benz E-Class. With more interior space, more luxury, a higher level of quality and more features, this is a tour-de-force to argue for R599,000 with less than 55,000km on the odometer. It is packed with a stonking 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine with 190kW of power under your right foot, a panoramic sliding glass roof, Apple CarPlay integration, and AMG Styling Package among other included comfort and luxury optional extras. With its Factory Warranty nearly expired, the buyer would have the option to extend it directly with Mercedes-Benz or choose from one of the many aftermarket packages available for that added peace of mind.

2018 Audi A6 2.0TDI (40 TDI) S tronic

Image: Cars.co.za

With the most exquisitely designed interior in the car business, the Audi A6 brings style to the party with an understated appeal that’s hard to deny. It is also more spacious than the 320d, offers more in the way of technology and safety features, and brings the most dynamic of automatic gearboxes to transform this into a fantastic vehicle that would tick more boxes than the standard 320d. It packs a panoramic sliding sunroof, front and rear PDC, 19″ alloy wheels and carries the balance of its Audi Freeway Plan with 45,112km on the odometer for R539,000.

Is the 320d – with all its technology and sharper chassis – as much car as the examples selected here? We don’t think so. As accomplished as the BMW 320d G20 is, it can’t quite manage to beat its 5-Series stablemate nor the Mercedes and Audi. Where would our money go? Most likely to the BMW 540i, which would certainly hold its value better than the 320d and present a far more rewarding driving experience.

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