Loyal reader Andrew has fetched up on these pages with some great motors, but right now he’s after something rather wonderful.

A BMW Touring, specifically a 3 Series and, to be right on the money, one from the E46 generation. One of the most handsome, capable and well-built handy-sized estates ever made, then. Great choice. However, it isn’t easy to find exactly the right example. Let’s see what’s available.

If there are any patterns to the E46 marketplace, it seems like people are getting out of their diesels, so there are bargains to be had there.

Reasonably close to me was a 330d from 2004 with 200,000 miles, rust, no MOT and noisy wheel bearings advertised at £1000. That was about £1000 too much.

Looking around carefully, I found a nice 320d (albeit one that would require a long train journey to collect it) from 2005 with 5000 fewer miles than the broken one and an MOT. Everything seemed fine – even all of the electrics were operational – for, well, £1000. Always shop around, people.

There are some rather sweet 330ds for decent money, too. I discovered a 2002 automatic with a ton of recent work, bills in the four figures, a new battery, 150,000 miles and a very decent specification for £2495. 

The thing is, the big money is going on the six-cylinder petrols. A fully black 2002 325i Sport with some banging speakers wasn’t for me or Andrew at £4500, despite it having a fairly low mileage of 95,000.

Otherwise, there was a SORN 2002 325i in standard-issue silver metallic with minor bubbling and 77,000 miles, but that was going to need recommissioning.