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
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.
Car group tests
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.
In this review
- 1VerdictLatest BMW M3 is a straight-six, turbocharged super-saloon with blistering performance
- 2Engines, performance and driveHuge power and torque in a compact saloon means the M3 is a rocketship, but it'll also cruise in comfort
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe M3’s claimed efficiency is much improved, although you’ll be lucky to come close if you regularly use even a fraction of the car's performance
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingTech and style combine to make a practical but attractive cabin that’s usable all year round
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith a big boot, five seats, good comfort and respectable fuel economy for the performance, the M3 is a surprisingly practical family car
- 6Reliability and SafetySuperb brakes, grippy tyres and a full five-star Euro NCAP rating make the M3 a safe, dependable family car