Getting in and out of the front seats in a 3 Series Touring is easy, thanks to the car’s wide door apertures and its fairly low sills.
There’s about as much space as the model’s Audi and Mercedes rivals, but the VW Passat offers even more. It’s a moot point though, as even those over six-feet tall will find they have more than enough head- and leg room in the 3 Series Touring.
Storage options are numerous and varied. The door pockets each have space for a 1.0-litre bottle of water. There’s a storage compartment under the centre armrest and two cupholders in front of the gearlever. The glovebox is a decent size.
BMW 3 Series Touring rear space
Room for two adults, or three at a push
Like the model’s direct rivals, there’s just enough space in the rear seats for two taller adults. Leg room is decent, foot space under the front seats is generous and there’s adequate head room.
Shoulder space is tight for three adults sitting across the back, though, while the middle passenger has to place their feet either side of the car’s high central tunnel.
It’s in the rear of the cabin that bigger rivals such as the Skoda Superb Estate excel. The Skoda’s usefully wider cabin and much more generous leg room make it feel more spacious in the back than the merely adequate BMW.
However, the Touring’s rear passengers are at least well provided for. Each rear door contains a small storage pocket, and there are adjustable rear-air vents mounted in the back of the front centre console. A folding rear armrest containing two cupholders is standard on all models, while retractable rear sunblinds for the side windows will be a popular option for those with young families.
BMW 3 Series Touring seating flexibility
Everything you’d expect, but nothing out of the ordinary
The rear seats split and fold in a 40:20:40 arrangement as standard. You drop them by pulling the release levers from the side doors. It’s easy enough, but it’s also a shame that there are no levers in the boot to offer easy folding from the boot area.
Because the rear seats can be dropped in three parts, there’s plenty of potential for carrying a few longer items, and still accommodating one or two rear passengers.
The front passenger seat is height-adjustable, although it’s a really awkward spring-loaded system that means you have to lift your weight from the seat to raise it. Lumbar adjustment is an optional extra – fortunately, specifying it means you get it on both front seats – and there’s the option of fully adjustable electric seats on all models.
BMW 3 Series Touring boot space
Average for the class
The boot in the 3 Series Touring is around the same size as the Audi A4’s, although both are dwarfed by the Skoda Superb’s. The Touring’s rear wheel arches cut into the boot a bit more, making it a slightly more awkward shape than the A4’s. The opening is narrower, too. That said, it can accept a couple of pushchairs or chunky suitcases with relative ease.
The rear windscreen opens independently of the bootlid, giving access the boot if you’re in a rush or are restricted by a low ceiling from opening the bootlid to its fullest extent.
The rear seats can fold to create a virtually flat load deck up to the backs of the front seats, although the width of the floor isn’t especially great.
There are lashing hooks on the floor and also on the sides of the boot, a couple of cubbies on each side, and a small amount of underfloor storage that’s useful for hiding valuables.
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