MSRP
$40,750
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 BMW 3-Series Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 6.7

The 2020 BMW 3 Series is stately and spacious, with a large back seat and plenty of trunk space. The core infotainment interface is easy to see and use. Some neat tech upgrades are available, though they don't always respond consistently. The styling is handsome, but some lower-quality pieces detract from overall richness, and the cabin is a little stark in comparison to rivals at the top of our luxury small car class.

  • The 2020 BMW 3 Series' 5-passenger interior is clean and elegant, but hardly revolutionary. Some might find it a little too clinical and sterile. But if you've ever owned a BMW, you already know this and likely prefer it this way. Minimal as it may be, the 3 Series' material and build quality are worthy of its luxury badge." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Cool upscale touches abound, such as the knurled metallic prisms that form the edges of the vent-opening adjusters and iDrive knob. The leather surfaces and aluminum detailing wouldn't be out of place in a flagship vehicle. Every surface that falls to hand has an appropriately upscale feel, save for the plasticky response of the center console's stowage tray lid." -- Motor Trend (2019)
  • "What concerns me is that the 3 Series' interior doesn't feel as premium as it ought to -- not just for a car in this segment, but for a company like BMW. Sure, the seats are comfortable and a vast majority of the switchgear feels as nice as it looks, but there are far more instances of hard plastic in the G20 3 Series' cabin than I can recall in previous generations. Touch the door toppers or run your hand along the sides of the transmission tunnel. If there's any evidence of this cost-cutting in the new 3, it's here." -- CNET (2019)

Seating

The 2020 3 Series is a four-door sedan with five seats. Up front, the seats are supportive, and the standard 14-way power adjustments accommodate an array of body types. There is plenty of legroom in the back, so even lanky adults can travel comfortably in the second row. The standard synthetic leather upholstery is of a high quality. Genuine leather, heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

For installing child safety seats, there are two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors.

  • "Seating is firm and supportive and we especially like the sport seats in the M Sport version. Thanks to its elongated body, the 3 Series finally has a back seat fit for adults." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The front seats are both supportive and attractive, and there's more space than inside the previous car. Six-footers will fit comfortably in the outboard rear seats, and the standard rear seatback is now 40/20/40 split." -- Car and Driver (2019)
  • "Passenger space is more than ample, with plenty of head and shoulder room for a 5-foot, 8-inch driver like myself. You can sit three-across in the back, albeit snugly, and again, headroom is adequate, with good enough legroom for average-sized adults." -- CNET (2019)

Interior Features

The 3 Series comes with the latest version of BMW's iDrive system. It's more user friendly than the technology found in the previous generations of the 3 Series, though it still has a few hiccups. Professional reviewers like the crisp graphics, well-placed buttons, and customizable home screen. The optional BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and gesture controls add some convenience, but they don't work consistently.

Standard 3 Series features includes an 8.8-inch infotainment display, a navigation system, the Live Cockpit Plus system with the iDrive 6.0 interface, 10 speakers, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and a moonroof.

The list of options contains Apple CarPlay as a subscription service, a Live Cockpit Professional system with a 10.25-inch touch-screen display, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, gesture controls, wireless smartphone charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, remote engine start, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning, pedestrian monitoring, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive headlights, and front and rear parking sensors. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control with stop and go capability, a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, active parallel and perpendicular parking assist, a surround-view parking camera system, and lane departure warning.

See 2020 BMW 3 Series specs »

  • The … resolution [of the digital gauge cluster] is crisp and the information easy to read. It just isn't as pretty as Audi's Virtual Cockpit or even Mercedes' new digital display. While the base 3 Series comes with an 8.8-inch center infotainment display, you'll want to upgrade to the 10.2-inch setup … running the latest iDrive 7 software. In addition to a redesign, the real improvement for iDrive 7 is the ability to reconfigure the home display, and to operate the system by touch. Redundant controls on the center console offer familiar action for folks who'd rather not touch the screen, and gesture controls are once again part of the iDrive system, though they're just as silly (and decidedly useless) as they've ever been." -- CNET (2019)
  • " Many of the most annoying elements in BMW's upmarket models are all still found here. The nonsensical shifter is one example; it makes you look down to figure out what gear you're in. At one point, I watched my co-driver push the lever all the way up into reverse and prepare to exit the car. Our test models also came with the gesture controls introduced on the 7 Series. This parlor trick allows you to turn on music or adjust volume by using Bollywood-dance-like hand motions in the space near the dash. The problem is that, if you're a hand talker, unwanted music can suddenly - and very loudly - fill the cabin." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)  

Cargo

The 3 Series sedan has a 17-cubic-foot trunk and 40/20/40 split folding rear seats. Both are remarkable for the class. For extra convenience, opt for the hands-free trunk lid. 

  • "Standard 40/20/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks provide convenient pass-through to the trunk, greatly increasing the usability of the already generous 16.9 cu.-ft. (when run-flat tires are specified) luggage compartment." -- New York Daily News (2019)
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2020 BMW 3-Series

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