BMW M3 (2014-2018) review - Interior, design and technology

Tech and style combine to make a practical but attractive cabin that’s usable all year round

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.3 out of 5

Find your BMW 3 Series
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
9/10 sellers got the price they expected
Advertisement

BMW’s intuitive iDrive system comes as standard, controlling a large screen on top of the dash. It’s a great system that integrates nicely with the standard 3 Series’ interior design – although, on this M Division model, you can turn the dial up when it comes to sportiness with options such as carbon fibre trim inlays.

More supportive sports seats fix you in place when you’re in the mood for faster driving, while the sportier steering wheel (with gear shift paddles on the DCT version) also set it apart from the standard 3 Series saloon.

There’s a head-up display so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road, as well as two configurable M Sport modes that tweak the steering, throttle response, gearbox, stability control and suspension to your preferred setting at the touch of a button. 

Overall, the quality feels great inside, with lots of leather and soft-touch plastics, as well as sportier carbon fibre and aluminium trim if you want to customise your M3 that bit further still. The dashboard is clear to read – which is a great help if you do need to take your eyes off the road at speed – while the technology is easy to get to grips with.

The cabin design is familiar from other models in the BMW range, but fundamentally it works. It feels at least as special as the Mercedes-AMG C63 when it comes to design and material quality, although the most recent Audi RS 4 Avant is a step ahead of both rivals here. 

As the M3 is a saloon with four doors, access to the rear is easy, and the attention to detail is just as good in the back, with comfortable seats and a few other bespoke features.

Design changes for the M3 CS include a carbon-fibre bonnet, lightweight, matt grey forged 19-inch wheels, a front carbon-fibre splitter, rear spoiler and diffuser, all with exposed weave.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The iDrive system is controlled by a rotary wheel located on the transmission tunnel. It’s surrounded by buttons for the radio, sat-nav and so on, so there are plenty of hot keys to quickly jump to the area of the infotainment system you want.

The controller is simple to use, and you can scroll between settings with little fuss. The screen is huge, too, so it’s easy to view sat-nav instructions, for example.

Sat-nav, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and a DAB radio all come as standard, so there are plenty of creature comforts to go with the more hardcore track focus the chassis and engine bring. Although the huge tyres and stiff suspension mean there’s a noticeable amount of road roar, the powerful stereo and strong refinement ensure long-distance journeys are still easy to complete.

Most Popular

New Renault 4 EV: price, specs, release date and all the details
Renault 4 - front (watermarked)
News

New Renault 4 EV: price, specs, release date and all the details

Renault’s retro revolution will continue with a new version of the iconic Renault 4 as a small electric car. Here’s everything we know about it
2 Mar 2024
New Kia EV9 Air 2024 review: entry-level model is appealing in almost every way
Kia EV9 Air - front
Road tests

New Kia EV9 Air 2024 review: entry-level model is appealing in almost every way

The all-electric Kia EV9 SUV has a new entry-point, and it just might be the pick of the range
1 Mar 2024
Car Deal of the Day: new razor-sharp Toyota C-HR hybrid SUV for £257 a month
Toyota C-HR 2.0 Hybrid GR Sport front corner static shot
News

Car Deal of the Day: new razor-sharp Toyota C-HR hybrid SUV for £257 a month

The recently-launched second generation of Toyota’s funky hybrid SUV is our Deal of the Day for 29th February
29 Feb 2024