2017 BMW 3-Series Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2017 BMW 3-Series was new.


Interior: 8.1

The 2017 BMW 3 Series features a well-designed interior that is solidly built and uses luxurious materials. The front seats are comfortable and can be upgraded for more support with the sport seats. Rear legroom is tight but still about average for the class. Cargo space is also about average, though two five-door models offer much more room. The standard infotainment system is easy to use.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "As for the styling, the changes made to the exterior of the 2016 3-series are barely visible and the interior has gained just a few metal trim strips. The latter is okay, we suppose, as 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 (2016)
  • "Although the interior changes have no bearing on the way the car goes down the road, the adjustments have been visited upon the right places to remind you why you shelled out the money." -- Autoblog (2016)


The 2017 3 Series seats five on standard leatherette upholstery. Optional upgrades include leather seats, heated front and rear seats, and power-adjustable front seats.

All of the 3 Series’ seats offer ample comfort, and upgrading to sport seats in the front provides more support all-around. The cabin feels spacious with a good amount of room for passengers in the back. However, some competitors have more rear legroom.

The 3 Series' LATCH car-seat system is a mixed bag. The lower anchors on the two outboard rear seats are too deep to reach easily, and it is difficult to maneuver around the anchors. However, there is little force needed to attach the straps, and the top tether anchors are easy to find.

  • "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, the 3 Series offers a generous amount of room all around. There's not quite as much rear legroom as you'd get from an Audi A4 or Volvo S60 Inscription, but most adults will be content." -- Edmunds
  • "The backseat is a little tight in the legroom department, but that's not uncommon in this vehicle class, and the BMW doesn't seem any worse than its competitors here." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "Anyone familiar with older 3 Series models will notice how spacious the current model feels -- big enough to question whether it's really worth stepping up to the 5 Series. Optional front sport seats add some snugness in all the right places." -- Autotrader (2016)

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2017 3 Series include dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker audio system, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, an iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch display screen, and push-button ignition. Optional features include a moonroof, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging with a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, navigation with real-time traffic, remote assistance services, a proximity key, a universal garage door opener, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, a surround-view camera, automatic parking assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The BMW iDrive system functions well and is intuitive to operate. It responds quickly to commands from the main controller, which is easy to reach on the center console. Some inputs require navigation through multiple menus or screens, which takes some getting used to. The controller includes a touchpad that you can input letters or numbers on by drawing with your finger.

See 2017 BMW 3 Series specs »

  • "The touchpad on top of the iDrive controller can be used to handwrite inputs using your finger. Overall, the latest version of iDrive is 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 inputs to get what you want." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "From a rather complete head-up information display to the latest remote concierge services and BMW's iDrive multimedia system, the 340i can be very well-equipped with all the latest gadgetry. Interestingly, it's (sic) display is not a touchscreen; it operates from a rotary controller in the center console that takes a little getting used to before you can successfully navigate the menu-based system. The upside is that you're never trying to reach for the display while driving and there are no smudgy fingerprints on it." -- Cars.com (2016)


The 2017 3 Series in sedan form has 13 cubic feet of cargo space, which is about average for the class. Gran Turismo models have 24.6 cubic feet of space and 56.8 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The Sports Wagon has 27.5 and 53 cubic feet of space with the seats up and down, respectively.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "For a compact sedan, the 340i has a surprisingly spacious trunk, with 13.0 cubic feet overall. That's more than its rivals possess, with the Mercedes-Benz C430 AMG coming in at 12.6 cubic feet and the Audi S4 not far behind at 12.4. The Cadillac ATS is closer in size to previous-generation 3 Series models at just 10.4 cubic feet. All these cars feature a split, folding rear seatback to allow for expansion of the trunk for larger items." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "The Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models offer sizable cargo-hauling advantages over sedan-only rivals like the Lexus IS." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

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