New BMW 3 Series & Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs Audi A4

BMW has reinvented its 3 Series with new underpinnings, fresh styling and a revised interior in a bid to reclaim leadership of the executive car class against the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Clas...

Audi A4 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Even if your legs are long, you’ll be fine up front in the 3 Series. And while the others aren’t quite as spacious, they’re still far from cramped. The A4 has the most head room, but that’s at least partly due to the other two having sunroofs fitted. Even then, though, none of our testers struggled.

BMW 3 Series rear seats

It’s only when you jump back a row that meaningful differences start to emerge. Six-footers will be happier in the A4 than the C-Class, but the 3 Series is roomier still. Its seatbacks are reclined at a better angle for relaxing and it has the widest bench, so it’s a tad more bearable for three adults abreast.  

Mercedes C-Class rear seats

Each car has enough boot space for seven carry-on suitcases and 40/20/40-split rear seats that fold almost flat, although the C-Class’s boot has the least regular shape and the narrowest aperture, making it trickiest to load.

Audi A4

Audi A4 boot

Being our only test car not fitted with a sunroof, the A4 has the most front head room. Rear room is also decent, but the centre console makes life harder for a middle passenger than in the other cars

Boot 480 litres Suitcases 7

BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series boot

The 3 Series has the most front leg room, and head room remains fine even if you go for the optional sunroof. It also has the best rear seat space, including for three abreast, and a fine boot

Boot 480 litres Suitcases 7

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes C-Class boot

Front space is fine for anyone, but the rear seats have the least width, head room and leg room. The boot can take seven cases just like the others, but it has a less regular shape and a narrower opening

Boot 455 litres Suitcases 7

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