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2016 BMW 3-Series Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 BMW 3-Series was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.1

While some auto writers say the BMW 3 Series' cabin is handsomely designed and made with top-notch materials, others think rivals like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class offer nicer cabin materials and more modern styling. The 3 Series' front seats are supportive, test drivers say, and the back seats are some of the most spacious in the class. According to reviewers, the BMW 3 Series' iDrive infotainment system is quick, simple to operate and its controller is within close reach. The 3 Series' trunk is slightly larger than average for the class.

  • As for the styling … the interior has gained just a few metal trim strips. … the cabin still looks relatively contemporary, but it nevertheless lacks the sumptuous luxury of the Mercedes-Benz C-class interior or the techno-futurism of the next-gen Audi A4." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 3 Series cabin combines classic BMW design cues with thoroughly contemporary technology. The familiar analog gauges provide a historical link with BMWs of previous decades, and materials quality remains exceptional throughout. Perceived build quality is also high." -- Edmunds
  • "The cabin incorporates sinuous lines, high-quality materials and an overall feeling of fine craftsmanship." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Bad news is the interior doesn't measure up, but I guess I say that thinking about the A4's superb cockpit. Here there are a few cheapy materials and the design is a bit edgy and angular." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Seating

The 2016 BMW 3 Series seats five on standard leatherette upholstery. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, front sport seats, heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel are available. Test drivers report that the 3 Series' front seats offer great support, especially the available sport seats. They say the back seats are some of the roomiest in the class, with more legroom than most rivals' seats. The Gran Turismo model has a high driving position, similar to that of a compact SUV, some auto writers point out.

  • "The base 320i's manually adjusted front seats are comfortable and supportive, while the upgraded sport seats are even more so. There's an impressive range of adjustments regardless of whether you get manual or power operation. If rear seat accommodations are a priority, you won't find a more spacious backseat in this class. Rear legroom is particularly generous." -- Edmunds
  • "The spacious cabin offers more rear legroom than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti Q50." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The driver enjoys that higher seating position so dear to SUV and crossover lovers, and the interior fittings are done to the elevated standards of the current 3-series." -- Car and Driver (2014 Gran Turismo)
  • "Rear passenger room is among the best in its class and the front seats offer ample lateral support, thanks to added bolstering inclusive with the M Sport package." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2016 BMW 320i include a nine-speaker stereo, push-button start, Bluetooth, a USB port, dual-zone automatic climate control and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch display. Optional features include adaptive cruise control, navigation, satellite radio, a moonroof, a rearview camera, side- and top-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot monitoring, a head-up display and lane departure warning.

Reviewers agree that iDrive has become one the most user-friendly infotainment systems in the class. They note its simple on-screen menus, quick response times and sharp display screen. Test drivers also appreciate that the iDrive controller is centrally mounted, making it easy for front-seat occupants to access.

See 2016 BMW 3-Series specs »

  • "Classic round gauges shine subtly with BMW's trademark red illumination, and the central control panel is canted toward the driver. There's a high-tech vibe thanks to a classy central display with graphics and responsiveness beyond reproach, and the latest iDrive controller continues to be a favorite in the infotainment category." -- AutoTrader
  • Overall, iDrive is pretty easy to use, thanks to straightforward menus, crisp graphics and quick processing times. But compared to some rival systems, it typically requires a few more twirls and clicks to get what you want." -- Edmunds
  • "All secondary systems are controlled through BMW's iDrive infotainment setup, which has evolved over the years from a bewildering complex unit to surprisingly simple and user-friendly system." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "The console-mounted iDrive controller is handy to both driver and front passenger, and its freestanding central screen boasts an HDTV-like trans-reflective, high-resolution display." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)

Cargo

The 2016 BMW 3 Series sedan has 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which is slightly more than average for the class. With the rear seats folded, the 3 Series Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo hatchback have 53 and 56.5 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively, and come standard with a power liftgate. Auto writers are impressed with the 3 Series' cargo space in all models, but are particularly pleased with the space offered by the Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo. They also appreciate the available hands-free option that allows you to open the trunk or liftgate by waving your foot under the back bumper.

  • "Trunk space is above average in the sedan (13 cubic feet), while the wagon offers a maximum cargo capacity of 53 cubic feet with its seats folded. That's about the same as the rival Audi Allroad." -- Edmunds
  • "The Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models offer sizable cargo-hauling advantages over sedan-only rivals like the Lexus IS." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Just kick a foot under the rear bumper and the trunk pops open. Sheer brilliance. …" -- AutoWeek (2012 sedan)

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