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in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $32,950 - $62,000
Invoice: $30,315 - $57,040
MPG: 21 City / 32 Hwy
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BMW 3-Series Interior

Most automotive journalists say the 2015 BMW 3-Series has handsome cabin styling, solid build quality and premium materials, though a few think its materials and design are a notch below those of competitors like the Audi A4. Critics like the 3-Series’ supportive front seats and say its rear seat is more spacious than that of many rivals. They’re also pleased with the 3-Series’ cargo capacity, especially in 3-Series Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models. Reviewers note that the iDrive infotainment system is easier to use than in the past, though it still requires more button clicks than rival systems to accomplish simple tasks.

  • "BMW says its 2015 3 Series interior is ‘straight out of the BMW design handbook.’ That translates to a straightforward look with tight fits, simple shapes and upscale materials." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Materials quality is exceptional throughout, and it's all put together with care." -- Edmunds
  • "The cabin incorporates sinuous lines, high-quality materials and an overall feeling of fine craftsmanship." -- Left Lane News
  • "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)

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Seating

The base 2015 BMW 3-Series seats five and comes standard with leatherette upholstery. Available features include leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, front sport seats, heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel. Reviewers write that the 3-Series has very supportive front seats, especially when equipped with sport seats. They note that the 3-Series has more rear-seat legroom than many rivals, including the Infiniti Q50, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Some say the 3-Series has the roomiest rear seat in the entire class. According to automotive journalists, Gran Turismo models offer a higher driving position similar to that of a crossover SUV.

  • "The base model manually adjusted front seats are comfortable and supportive, while those included in the Sport packages are even more so. Both offer an impressive amount of adjustment 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 the entry-luxury car 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
  • "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 base 2015 BMW 320i include a nine-speaker audio system, push-button start, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which has a 6.5-inch display. Available 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.

Test drivers agree that iDrive is much more intuitive than it used to be, with sharp graphics, quick load times and a logical on-screen menus. However, some critics point out that rival systems allow you to change infotainment settings with fewer adjustments.

See 2015 BMW 3-Series specs »

  • "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
  • "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
  • "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 2015 BMW 3-Series sedan has 13 cubic feet of trunk space, which is about average for the class. The ActiveHybrid 3 has a 10-cubic-foot trunk. The 3-Series Sports Wagon offers 53 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded down, and the 3-Series Gran Turismo hatchback has 56.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models come standard with a power liftgate. Reviewers are pleased with the amount of cargo space in all 3-Series models, especially the spacious Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo. They are also impressed with the optional hands-free trunk/liftgate opener, which automatically opens the cargo area when you pass 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 more than BMW's X1 and about the same as the 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
  • "Its 317-volt lithium battery resides under the trunk, which means the fold-down rear seats remain. Unless you had a regular 3 Series to compare it against, you'd never know that there was any difference." -- Road and Track (2013 ActiveHybrid 3)
  • "Just kick a foot under the rear bumper and the trunk pops open. Sheer brilliance. ..." -- AutoWeek (2012 sedan)
Review Last Updated: 12/9/14

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