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One of BMW’s most important arrivals in years, the fifth generation BMW 3-Series takes one of the world’s most iconic cars to the next level.

The E-90 (replacing the E46) introduces a number of improvements to the engine, chassis, safety and comfort of BMW’s flagship car.

One of the most significant developments is the use of new materials: a lightweight magnesium engine combined with an aluminum front suspension helps reduce weight and improve efficiency.

The engine maximises fuel efficiency with BMW’s own variable valve timing system (or Valvetronic) now able to adjust infinitely, meaning fuel is saved without compromising power.

A six speed gearbox means an extra gear and therefore a wider spread of ratios, offering the driver greater acceleration, particularly at takeoff.

The body stays true to its 30-year heritage, with the classic BMW front still distinguishable despite its slick modern makeover.

Other classic BMW characteristics carried over include rear wheel drive and a perfect axle load distribution of 50:50.

Safety improvements abound, with recent innovations such as electronic stability control and curtain airbags made standard.

As usual the interior features luxury, comfort and space which belie its compact sedan exterior.

Dashboards with woodgrain trim, the intelligent iDrive control system (complete with sat nav) and comfortable, spacious seating are all hallmarks of the new 3-Series.

BMW lovers will rejoice at the fact that their most celebrated model has finally caught up with (and overtaken) its rivals in terms of performance and design.

30 years in the making, featuring everything we have come to expect from BMW’s line of cars and exceeding expectations with many new innovations, the BMW E-90 is the picture of luxury and elegance.