2011 BMW 3-Series Wagon Interior

#5 out of 12 in 2011 Wagons

$9,970 - $11,011

2011 BMW 3-Series Wagon Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 BMW 3-Series Wagon was new.


Interior: 8.3

Reviewers, on balance, are pleased with the 3-Series' superb fit and finish and comfortable front seat, but complain that its backseat is too cramped for adults. Though BMW's iDrive multi-media system has been updated, many still find it complicated to use.

  • "The 2011 BMW 3 Series interiors will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in a BMW product. Classic analog gauges, sensible ergonomics and a restrained overall aesthetic combine to create a pleasant driving environment, though there's less visual pizzazz here than in some rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "The clean, elegant look is highlighted by standard leatherette upholstery set off by Burl Walnut, Poplar Natural Wood or aluminum trim." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Cabin materials have a sturdy, soft-touch feel." -- Consumer Guide


Auto writers report that the 3-Series wagon offers comfortable accommodations in the front, but is too cramped for tall passengers in the rear. If rear-passenger room is at the top of your priorities list, check out the Audi A6 Avant. It seats five average-size adults in moderate comfort.

  • "The base seats are comfortable and supportive, the Sport package's purpose-built seats even more so.  ... The rear seats are adequately roomy for adults on shorter trips, but taller passengers will complain that their heads are crammed into the roof." -- Edmunds
  • "Headroom and legroom are good for all but the tallest drivers. Standard manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel helps tailor a comfortable driving position. Seats have excellent bolstering to secure occupants through turns, but the bolsters may make the seats feel too narrow for those of generous girth." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The front seats are among the most supportive and comfortable in the industry." -- Forbes

Interior Features

Critics like that the 3-Series's features and controls are driver-focused, but complain of some ergonomic quirks, as well as BMW's complicated, but optional, iDrive multi-media interface.

Drivers opting for the BMW's optional navigation system must also have the iDrive system installed, as the systems are integrated with one another. To avoid the complications associated with iDrive, shoppers may want to forgo the 3-Series' navigation system altogether and purchase an aftermarket GPS instead.

  • "Legible white-on-black instruments and a multifunction steering wheel on a tilt and telescoping column reinforce its driver-centric character, while models fitted with the optional navigation package get an alternative 'double-wave' dash to accommodate the central video display." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As always, instrumentation and controls are arranged for serious driving." -- The Auto Channel
  • "BMW's odd turn-signal actuation drew some complaints, and in some cases, the steering wheel cut off the driver's view of the turn-signal indicator lamps." -- Consumer Guide  


The 3-Series wagon provides an admirable 60.9 cubic-feet of cargo space, which critics find enhances the vehicle's practicality. For even more cargo room, check out the Volvo XC70 which provides 72.1 cubic-feet.

  • "Throw up the hatch, throw down the seats, throw in your skis or band equipment or climbing gear. In terms of practicality and life-carrying cargo capacity, the 325xi sacrifices very little to the upright, lumpen crossovers whose ads blare from the pages of Vibe and Maxim." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "The wagon's greatest advantage over the sedan is its cargo space and versatility. Not only is there a little more cargo space behind the rear seats than in the sedan's trunk, large objects that won't fit through a trunk opening can fit easily through the tailgate." -- The Auto Channel

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