Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There’s more leg room up front than you’ll find in the A4 or C-Class. We’re talking a couple of centimetres at the most, but that might be worth having if you’re really leggy. Anyone tall shouldn’t need to worry about the amount of head room, either. The 3 Series’ interior is also generously wide, so you can stretch out sideways as well as lengthways.
Storage space is pretty good, with a useful cubby under the centre armrest that has a USB-C socket inside. You also get partitioned door bins that help prevent loose items from rolling around.
Compared with its premium-badged peers, the 3 Series has similar rear head room to the A4 but more leg room and more space all round than the C-Class. The 3 Series is also a better choice for three adults sitting side by side; they’ll have more shoulder room than they would in the A4 or C Class.
Seat folding and flexibility
The standard manually adjustable front passenger’s seat doesn’t have adjustable lumbar support, but you can add that and electric front seat adjustment for a reasonable price.
All 3 Series variants come with versatile 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks as standard; you can fold these down using handy levers inside the boot.
The 3 Series has a very decent boot by saloon standards. It's slightly bigger than those of the A4 and C-Class, and the load bay is a usefully square shape, making it relatively easy to slide in bulky objects. Should you need more space, as we’ve already mentioned, you can easily fold down the rear seatbacks for a large, flat extended load bay.
And while it’s no estate car (see our 3 Series Touring review if you want one of those), it’ll still manage a set of golf clubs or a few suitcases. If you need an even bigger boot and are prepared to sacrifice a premium badge, consider the Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo.
It's also worth noting that the 330e plug-in hybrid version sacrifices roughly a third of its boot space to accommodate a battery beneath. The space that's left is pretty shallow and smaller than the boot of the plug-in hybrid Volvo S60 T8.