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2019 BMW 3-Series Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.4

The 2019 BMW 3 Series sedan boasts a new interior styling, though it retains the familiar blend of elegant materials and a minimalist design. The materials are mostly top-notch, though some professional reviewers note that the 3 Series doesn't feel quite as posh as its German adversaries. Its technology is both innovative and occasionally frustrating. The sedan is a few inches longer compared to the previous generation, adding more cargo and rear-seat legroom.

  • "Inside, the 3 Series gets a thorough reworking. … The slim dashboard is detailed by defined creases. 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. The sunroof is 4 inches longer." -- Motor Trend
  • 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
  • "BMW interiors are never overly ornate and the interior of the BMW 3 Series is simple, elegant and minimalistic in design. It's also beautifully assembled with tight fits and upscale materials." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Seating

The five-seat 3 Series provides all-day comfort for the driver and passengers. The redesigned sedan has more power adjustments for the front seats compared to the previous model, and a wide variety of body shapes can find a suitable seating position. There’s more legroom than the previous model, making it possible for adults to ride comfortably without feeling cramped.

The 330i sedan comes standard with 14-way power-adjustable front seats. The front seats in the base Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo have 10-way power adjustments. Synthetic leather upholstery and a leather-trimmed steering wheel are standard. Available upgrades include leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and manual rear side-window sunshades.

For child safety seats, the LATCH hardware in the 3 Series consists of two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors.

  • "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
  • "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
  • "Seat comfort is exceptional as is the driving position." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Interior Features

The 330i sedan comes standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment display, the latest iDrive infotainment interface, HD Radio, 10 speakers, three-zone climate control, and a moonroof. This model also debuts some new tech for the lineup, including BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant. The assistant responds to voice commands much like a smartphone or Alexa device, and also learns some of your habits. For example, it will automatically turn on your seat heater when the temperature drops below freezing if you typically do so. The assistant is nifty in theory, but it doesn't always perform like it should, much like the optional gesture controls. Still, this interface is better than the previous iteration, which still comes standard in the Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models.

All 330i models come with HD Radio, ambient lighting, a rearview camera, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The standard components in the Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo are slightly different from some of the sedan's, and they include a 6.5-inch infotainment display, a nine-speaker stereo system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic moonroof.

Available upgrades include a navigation system, Apple CarPlay as a subscription service, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless charging for enabled smartphones, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, speed limit info, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, automatic high beams, adaptive LED headlights, active parallel and perpendicular parking assist, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, frontal collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and daytime pedestrian monitoring.

See 2019 BMW 3 Series specs »

  • The 3 Series can be had with the digital gauge cluster found in other new BMWs, with the speedometer and tachometer flanking either side, and navigation or other useful vehicle data housed in the center. … the resolution 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
  • "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
  • "The standard 6.5-inch iDrive display is adequate, but the 8.8-inch screen is the true luxury touch. The iDrive system is easy to use with straightforward menus, crisp graphics and quick processing. The controller touchpad can be used to handwrite inputs using your finger." -- Edmunds (2018)

Cargo

The 3 Series sedan provides 16.9 cubic feet of trunk space. The hatchback-like Gran Turismo has 24.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 56.8 cubic feet with them folded. The Sports Wagon's 27.5-cubic-foot cargo area can expand to as much as 61.5 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats. Some models come with a power trunk lid, and a hands-free trunk lid is optional.

  • "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

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