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#2

in Upscale Midsize Cars

MSRP: $32,750 - $46,850
Invoice: $30,130 - $43,100
MPG: 24 City / 36 Hwy
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BMW 3-Series Interior

The cabin of the 2014 BMW 3-Series receives praise from test drivers for its modern design and high-end materials. Though some think a few of the sedan’s materials could be nicer, they agree that the 3-Series has a well-built interior and they like the multiple ways buyers can tailor the inside to their preferences. Reviewers like the amount of passenger space in the 3-Series, saying it is comfortable even in the back seat, which isn’t always the case in this class.

  • "Although the 3 Series cabin has a contemporary feel, BMW has taken pains to make sure it's still a comfortable and inviting place. The company's classic analog gauges provide a historical link with BMWs of previous decades, while the Luxury, Modern, Sport and M Sport give you plenty of leeway to customize the cabin to your taste. Materials quality within the cabin is exceptional, and it's all put together with care." -- Edmunds
  • "BMW calls its 2014 3 Series interior ‘straight out of the BMW design handbook,’ meaning an uncomplicated look with tight fits, simple shapes and upscale materials. The cockpit, angled toward the driver by seven degrees, presents important controls within easy reach." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the interior fittings are done to the elevated standards of the current 3-series." -- Car and Driver (Gran Turismo)
  • "Imitation-metal trim also blows the base 3's cover, but the finishes are otherwise high-quality. Soft-touch surfaces extend all the way down to the lowest door panels." -- Cars.com (2012 sedan)

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Seating

The 2014 BMW 3-Series sedan, Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo seat five and come standard with leatherette upholstery. Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models add standard power-adjustable front seats. Options include leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, sport seats (which offer more side bolstering) and power lumbar support. 

The automotive press agrees that the BMW 3-Series has comfortable front and rear seats and a roomy back seat, which they say makes it one of the most passenger-friendly cars in the class. On the other hand, they’re disappointed that leather is not standard at this price point.

  • "The base-model seats are comfortable and supportive, while the purpose-built seats in the sport packages are even more so. 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 impressive." -- Edmunds
  • "Overall, the cabin is quite spacious, and the rear quarters offer more legroom than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti G37." -- 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 (Gran Turismo)
  • "Speaking of getting away with things, how do cars like the 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class get away with imitation-leather seats in their base trim levels? It's convincing vinyl, but still." -- Cars.com (2012 sedan)

Interior Features

The 2014 BMW 320i sedan comes standard with Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic collision notification (which automatically calls for help if there’s been an accident) and BMW’s iDrive system, which includes a 6.5-inch display. Most options for the 2014 3-Series lineup are grouped into packages, and include features like a heated steering wheel, a moonroof, a rearview camera, side- and top-view cameras, parking sensors, active cruise control, navigation, satellite radio, a Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot detection, a head-up display and lane departure warning.

Critics agree that the iDrive system found in the 2014 3-Series is much easier to use than the prior version, which they say took some time to master. They also like the 2014 3-Series’ larger available display screen in the center stack, saying its high-definition graphics are very clear. Some reviewers say that some switchgear, such as the gear shift and turn-signal stalk, could be easier to use.

See the full list of 2014 BMW 3-Series features and specs »

  • "The basic 6.5-inch display screen is adequate, but you'll want to get the larger, optional screen for a true, luxury electronics interface. Although early versions of BMW's iDrive electronics interface had a reputation for being complicated and frustrating to use, this latest version ranks near the top of the entry-level luxury car class for sheer ease of use. The menu structure is straightforward, the graphics are crisp and processing times are quick, which helps minimize the amount of time you spend looking away from the road." -- 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
  • "Unfortunately, the new 3's automatic transmission still has the springy toggle-style gear selector, and the turn-signal stalk similarly springs back to center rather than staying in position until the turn is complete. If there's a benefit to this design, it isn't the driver's." -- Cars.com (2012 sedan)
  • "The full-color head-up display works well and can be nicely configured to show whatever info you want. The optional Surround View, however, is of less use. Getting a 360-degree view of your surroundings might be helpful when reversing, but seeing the sides of your car when it's just sitting still feels gimmicky, at best." -- AutoWeek (2012 sedan)

Cargo

The 2014 BMW 3-Series sedan has 13 cubic feet of cargo space, the wagon offers 53 cubic feet of space with the back seat folded down and the Gran Turismo hatchback model has 56.5 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seat folded. Critics are happy with the amount of cargo space in all three 3-Series models. They are also impressed with the hands-free trunk opener, which automatically opens the cargo area when you kick your foot under the back bumper.

  • "On the practicality front, 3 Series Sport Wagon and Gran Turismo models maintain a sizable advantage over their sedan-only rivals like the Lexus IS and Infiniti G when it comes to hauling cargo." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The added space enables the GT to offer 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space, making it slightly roomier than the 3-Series Sport Wagon. Up to 56.8 cubic feet of trunk space can be obtained by folding down the 40/20/40 split reach bench seat, and an electronic tailgate works with LED lighting that illuminates the cargo area and four tie-down hooks to make carrying bulky items a breeze." -- Left Lane News (Gran Turismo)
  • "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 basically equal to the Audi Allroad." -- Edmunds
  • "Just kick a foot under the rear bumper and the trunk pops open. Sheer brilliance. ..." -- AutoWeek (2012 sedan) 
Review Last Updated: 5/12/14

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