BMW 3 Series (2012-2018) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Space in the back of the BMW 3 Series is a bit tight, but no worse than in key rivals
The current BMW 3 Series interior is roomy enough, meaning it rivals the Audi A4 closely. There’s decent enough leg and headroom for all passengers thanks to a 50mm longer wheelbase compared to the old 3 Series. Elsewhere, cabin storage is reasonable, with a decent armrest bin, roomy door pockets, a useful glovebox and several cup-holders. If outright space is key, then stepping up to the larger 5 Series makes great sense, but if the purse strings are tight then few will be disappointed with the 3.
The BMW 3 Series is actually shorter than the Jaguar XE, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class – but only by a matter of millimetres. The Audi A4 is the longest and as a result is the roomiest, but the more compact dimensions of the 3 Series make it easy to manoeuvre in almost all situations. It helps make it a hoot to drive, too. Only the A4 is lighter, which helps the BMW’s cause further.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Despite being shorter than a Jaguar XE, the BMW is surprisingly roomy. Space in the rear of the saloon is compromised by an intrusive transmission tunnel, but it has afraction more head and legroom than an XE. Up front, the 320d’s low-set driving position places you closer to the action with a sporty feel.
Open the tailgate and you’ll discover the BMW delivers 480 litres of space, which is the same as an Alfa Giulia. Yet it has an advantage with its underfloor storage and retaining net. The 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats are a zero cost option, which is ideal for those in need of a flexible cargo space.
Elsewhere, the BMW delivers decent storage, including a large glovebox, well shaped door bins and cubbies in the centre console.
The hybrid system in the 330e eats into boot space, so you get 370 litres compared to 480 litres as standard. There’s no underfloor storage because the battery is there, and you get run-flat tyres as standard.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe BMW 3 Series is well built, efficient and fun to drive, justifying its place near the front of the compact executive saloon class
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe BMW 3 Series gets a range of fast but frugal engines and is one of the best compact executive cars to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsConsidering the powerful range of engines, the 3 Series returns admirable fuel economy and emissions
- 4Interior, design and technologyInside, the BMW 3 Series can't compete with the super-desirable Audi A4, but it's not a bad place to be
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingSpace in the back of the BMW 3 Series is a bit tight, but no worse than in key rivals
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe BMW 3 Series finished mid-table in our Driver Power survey, but safety is top-notch