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.

Size

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.

Boot

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.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    318i SE 4dr Step Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £30,470

Most Economical

  • Name
    330e SE Pro 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £36,970

Fastest

  • Name
    M340i xDrive 4dr Step Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £48,070

Most Popular

Euro 7 standards: EU considers lifetime surveillance of every new car
UK Motorway
News

Euro 7 standards: EU considers lifetime surveillance of every new car

Cars could feed data to the EU every second they are being driven; rules could also force hybrids into EV mode, while MoT test results could be affect…
5 Mar 2021
UK-based Arrival reveals electric panel van with modular battery system
Arrival electric van
News

UK-based Arrival reveals electric panel van with modular battery system

Arrival’s electric van will hit UK roads this summer, with a modular battery pack and maximum payload of almost two tonnes
5 Mar 2021
Volkswagen lays out new plans for electrified future
VW ID
News

Volkswagen lays out new plans for electrified future

Volkswagen has revealed plans for its current lineup along with its range of ID-branded electric cars
5 Mar 2021