Although most associate the BMW 3 Series with compact saloons or sports coupes, the Touring estate versions could be described as the unsung heroes of the range. As with any 3 Series purchase, they're well built and will retain their value doggedly, but unlike your neighbour's 318i saloon, they have a little more exclusivity. The additional practicality of the estate body shape can't be overlooked either, although they're hardly cavernous in the back.
As a used proposition, the E46 generation 3 Series Touring is a sound bet. There won't be too many screaming bargains about, but if you want a quality, practical product that rewards the enthusiast driver, there's little to touch a Touring.