Getting into and out of the front seats in a BMW 3 Series is easy, thanks to wide door apertures and a fairly low sill. Once inside, the available space is better than the Jaguar XE and similar to its 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 a 3 Series.
Storage options are varied. There are door pockets either side with space to hold a one-litre bottle of water in each, a storage compartment under the centre armrest and a decent-sized glovebox. There are also two cupholders in front of the gearlever.
BMW 3 Series rear space
The rear is where you really notice the difference between the 3 Series and larger rival such as the VW Passat. That said, there’s still enough space in the BMW for two adults thanks to the decent amount of leg room, generous foot space under the front seats, and adequate head room.
Shoulder space will be tight if you try to fit three adults in the rear, and the middle passenger will have to contend with the high central tunnel as well. But you can mount two child seats with ISOFIX points on either side of the rear bench.
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 optional on basic trims, while retractable rear sunblinds for the side windows are an option on all models.
BMW 3 Series seating flexibility
You have to pay extra for split-folding rear seats in the 3 Series unless you opt for the 330e, but they come in a useful 40:20:40 arrangement. Folding the rear seats is then a simple case of pulling the release levers mounted next to the boot-lid hinges, and once down, they leave a nearly flat load deck.
The front passenger gets a manually adjustable seat as standard that includes height adjustment, and there’s the option of fully adjustable electric seats on all models apart from the M3, which has them as standard.
BMW 3 Series boot space
The boot in the 3 Series is much the same size as that in the Audi A4 (albeit dwarfed by the VW Passat’s), but the narrower opening and a more awkward shape make it slightly less practical in the real world. That said, it will still accommodate a pushchair or a couple of medium-sized suitcases.
If you’re considering the 330e then it’s worth bearing in mind that the battery pack eats into the boot space significantly. You do get standard folding rear seats to compensate though.
Split-folding rear seats are an option. With them fitted and folded down there’s a nearly flat load deck up to the back of the front seats, although the width on offer isn’t as generous as some rivals.