All 3 Series Tourings come with a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a reach-adjustable steering wheel. You have to pay extra if you want lumbar adjustment or electric seats, even on more expensive trims. M Sport models come with sports seats that have added side support to help hold you securely when cornering. On the whole it’s a good set-up, apart from the annoyingly offset pedals in the manual cars.
The dashboard ergonomics work really well, partly helped by the centre console being angled towards the driver. All the buttons are within easy reach, and their size and clear labeling makes them easy to find when you’re on the move.
An optional sliding front armrest is worth adding since it’s a very affordable extra, and does add an element of flexibility.
BMW 3 Series Touring visibility
Generally easy to see out of
It’s easy to see out of the front of the 3 Series Touring thanks to its relatively narrow windscreen pillars, while the door mirrors give a good view of what’s drawing-up alongside. Blindspot warning and a head-up display are options that help keep your eyes on the road ahead.
As in many saloons, the over-the-shoulder view is hampered by the car’s thick rear pillars, but all 3 Series Tourings come with rear parking sensors, so this isn’t such a problem. You can also add front parking sensors, a surround-view camera and a reversing camera to make things even easier.
Automatic lights and wipers are standard, and you can upgrade the headlights to adaptive LED units, although it’s a pricey option.
Folding rear headrests are a cheap option that you should definitely add. The standard versions obscure much of the rearward view when in position.
BMW 3 Series Touring infotainment
The best system on the market
BMW was the first car maker to amalgamate all of its models’ infotainment functions into a series of on-screen menus operated via a rotary controller on the centre console, and its so-called iDrive system remains the best. Only Audi’s MMI system comes close, while the awkward touchpad system in the Mercedes, and the touchscreen in the Skoda Superb Estate, are trickier to use on the move.
All 3 Series Tourings come with Bluetooth and a DAB radio, plus an SOS emergency call feature. BMW Business versions have a sat-nav with a 6.5in screen mounted high on the dashboard (sat-nav costs extra on a base A4 Avant), or you can upgrade to the BMW Professional system. This comes with a larger 8.8in screen, online services and live traffic information.
Other options include voice activation, a digital TV tuner, and a more powerful Harman Kardon audio system.
BMW 3 Series Touring build quality
Up with the best but not class leading
Throughout the Touring’s cabin BMW uses a mix of generally high-quality materials. The dashboard features soft-feel plastics, gloss-black finishes on the centre console and chrome highlights around the air vents. Harsher plastics are reserved for less obvious places. It looks classy and feels well constructed, while the switchgear feels nicely damped, too.
The Touring’s cabin feels more high-end than the Jaguar XE’s and even the Mercedes C-Class’s, which looks smart but isn’t quite as solid to the touch. However, the Audi A4’s top-notch interior just shades it.
BMW also offers a so-called Individual range, bringing more personalisation options including higher-grade leathers and cabin trims, all for an additional cost.
The 3-series is the most sought-after small executive saloon thanks to its image, driving characteristics and performance. The rear seats are a bit of a squeeze for two adults and the boot is not as big as some rivals'. Base models lack some minor exec es