BMW 3-Series Interior
Most reviewers agree with Automobile Magazine's assessment that the interior is comprised of "high-quality materials and a very modern design," but some complain that the car's cockpit is filled with quirky, and sometimes frustrating, technologies.
"3 Series interiors provide a restrained show of luxury," says Edmunds. "Materials are high in quality and build quality is exceptional." However, says Cars.com, "the 3 Series offers a few answers to questions nobody asked. Some of these ‘improvements' are harmless, others are a hindrance and all are unnecessary." While BMW claims that the vehicle can seat five, many find the rear seat too small to comfortably seat more than two adults.
The 3-Series' front seats are regarded as comfortable and supportive. "Front-seat comfort is first-rate," says CNET. Edmunds notes that "our 6-foot-2-inch tester had no trouble settling in behind the wheel, which tilts and telescopes .... More seat travel than he needs is available, and headliner and hairdo stay a respectful distance apart." Two women reviewers from the , however, found that "we're about the same size and we both agreed that it needs adjustable pedals" to fit well. 335i and 335xi models receive standard eight-way power seats.
The rear seats are not a favorite of many reviewers. Reviewing the sedan, CNET says that "rear-seat space is marginally increased and good for the size of the car, but it is still a relatively small vehicle." On the coupe model, MSN reports, "Unfortunately the increased size did not add any legroom in the rear seat where it was needed. Thus it remains a bit cramped back there, especially if you have more than two rear passengers or have plans for a long drive."
The 2007 BMW 3-Series comes very well equipped with its standard suite of features. Interior feature lists are identical for Coupe, Sedan and Convertible editions. Car and Driver comments that "BMWs typically have long options lists ... with the many standard features, we didn't feel gypped."
Those standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, real walnut wood trim (though aluminum and poplar trim are no-cost options) and standard leatherette upholstery that "looks and feels better than one would expect," according to Edmunds. While not listed as standard features, more than half of all the 3-Series BMW builds will include the Premium package, adding leather upholstery, auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, eight-way power seats with two-driver memory settings and a subscription to BMW Assist.
Stereo and Entertainment
The base sound system is very well-liked. "In general we've been very pleased with BMW's Harman Kardon sound system. The bass is deep, the highs are clear and the system sounds good no matter what type of music you're listening to. It's a premium audio system in a premium car and you get what you expect," says Edmunds. The system can be upgraded to add satellite or HD radio functions -- but the ten-speaker, MP3-equipped base stereo impresses most reviewers without any expensive additions.
Prospective buyers should familiarize themselves with BMW's iDrive driver interface system before attempting to make a purchase decision. BMW has made iDrive optional on 3-Series cars, but it is included with the optional navigation system.
The BMW iDrive is singled out by nearly every reviewer of the 3-Series. The system, "designed by a psychiatrist trying to drum up more business by driving motorists mad," according to the, uses a single knob that can rotate on multiple axes, combined with menus on the navigation screen, to control the navigation system, climate control, stereo and other user-adjustable features.
Because BMW is offering iDrive on its entire 2007 model lineup, it must believe that some buyers will like the system. Unfortunately, almost no reviewer does. "In many ways I'm BMW's dream buyer: a young gearhead/chip-head with 10 years' intensive computer and web interface experience. Even I say iDrive is an abomination," notes a reviewer from Cars.com. "Much has been said about how hard it is to figure out. That's not the problem. I'm geeky enough that I figured it out without training or a manual. The problem is that even when you do know how to use it, it's a colossal drag to do so -- every single time."
BMW has expanded the 3-Series trunk by removing the spare tire and giving all the cars run-flat tires as standard equipment. The space once used to house the spare tire is now a separate, secured storage compartment. Even with that innovation, trunk space remains "average in sedans and coupes," says Edmunds, while "the convertible offers a reasonable cargo hold when the hardtop is up, but it shrinks considerably when the top is lowered."
U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman was one of several to complain about the cupholders, remarking that "BMW's cupholders always seem to be part practical joke."
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