BMW 3 Series saloon driving position
All BMW 3 Series models come with a manually adjusted driver’s seat that includes height adjustment, as well as a height and reach adjustable steering wheel. You have to pay extra if you want lumbar adjustment for added lower-back support or electric seats, even on more expensive trims other than the M3. M Sport models come with sports seats that have added side support to help grip you firmly when cornering.
On the whole it’s a good set-up, apart from the annoyingly offset pedals.
The 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 while on the move.
BMW 3 Series saloon visibility
It’s easy to see out the front of the 3 Series thanks to relatively thin windscreen pillars, while the door mirrors give a good view of what’s drawing-up alongside. If you want you can add blindspot warning as an option, and a head-up display that helps keep your eyes on the road ahead.
Like many saloons, the over-the-shoulder view is hampered by thick rear pillars, but all 3 Series’ 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.
BMW 3 Series saloon infotainment
BMW was the first car maker to amalgamate all the infotainment functions into a series of on-screen menus operated via a rotary controller on the centre console, and its iDrive system remains the best. Only Audi’s MMI system comes close, while the touchscreen on the Jaguar XE or VW Passat are more fiddly to use on the move.
All 3 Series models come with Bluetooth and a DAB radio, plus an SOS emergency call feature. BMW Business sat-nav with a 6.5in screen mounted high on the dashboard is also standard, or you can upgrade to the BMW Professional system. This comes with a larger 8.8in screen, online services and live traffic information. No matter which system you have, Apple CarPlay can be added as an option for a reasonable price.
Other additions include voice activation, a digital TV tuner, and more powerful Harman Kardon audio system.
BMW 3 Series saloon build quality
Throughout the 3 Series’ interior, BMW uses a mix of materials that includes soft-feel plastics on the dash, 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 operates with a nicely damped action, too.
Compared with rivals such as the Jaguar XE and even the Mercedes C-Class – which looks smart but isn’t quite as solid to the touch – it feels high-end, although it’s just shaded by the exquisite finish of the Audi A4.
BMW also offers its Individual range, with more personalisation options including higher-grade leathers and cabin trims for an additional cost.