BMW 3 Series Touring interior
The BMW 3 Series Touring’s interior feels very posh and comes with plenty of high-tech features, but it doesn’t look as snazzy as the cabins in some alternatives.
The BMW 3 Series Touring has a seriously plush cabin that comes packed with loads of high-tech features.
Sure, at a glance, it doesn’t look quite as dramatic as the swoopy interior you get in a Mercedes C-Class Estate or a Volvo V60, but it has a little more pizzazz than the Audi A4 Avant’s fairly plain interior.
This is all thanks to some glossy metal dashboard trims, a widescreen infotainment system and a raised centre console that makes you feel more like you’re hunkered down in a low slung sports car than perched on the seat of a big, boxy estate.
Many of the BMW 3 Series’ Touring’s fancy trim pieces take inspiration from the even posher 5 Series Touring; including the brushed metal air vents, door handles and solid-feeling buttons and stalks.
Many of these controls come set in swathes of glossy black plastic, but you can swap these with a range of unpolished wood, metal or kaleidoscopic-print inserts if you prefer.
There’s also the option to ditch the 3 Series Touring’s standard fabric seats for some man-made or real-leather items in a range of colours.
Unlike the gimmicky voice controls in some cars, the BMW 3 Series Touring’s personal assistant feature is genuinely useful and understands plenty of requests in plain English.
The BMW 3 Series Touring has some of the most advanced infotainment features of any mid-size estate car – providing you’re happy to pay for a few optional extras, that is.
Thankfully, you don’t have to part with any hard-earned cash to get a 9-inch central touchscreen and an extra 6-inch digital display that replaces conventional analogue dials. These screens look sharper and more vibrant than those you get in the Mercedes C-Class Estate and Volvo V60 and they’re easier to use, too.
You can flick through the system’s menus using the touchscreen, a set of handy shortcut buttons or – unlike in the Volvo V60 and Audi A4 Avant – a rotary controller on the centre console. This makes it dead easy to switch between the system’s many features while you’re driving.
Satellite navigation comes as standard too, and it’s a doddle to input an address and add a waypoint. The screen responds without any lag if you pan or swipe to preview your route, too.
This is all well and good, but for the full 3 Series Touring experience, you’ll have to fork out for the Live Cockpit Professional Pack. This swaps the standard screens for a much larger 12-inch touchscreen and a broader 10-inch digital driver’s display.
You also get BMW’s passenger-impressing Personal Assistant feature as part of this upgrade. This voice-controlled feature lets you program the sat-nav, change the heating settings, tweak the colour of the mood lighting and even adjust the bass settings on the stereo using the key phrase ‘Hey BMW’. It understands commands spoken in plain English – unlike many simpler systems – and you can even customise the phrase it’ll respond to. Perfect if you fancy giving your car a pet name, for instance.
Unfortunately, the Personal Assistant doesn’t work in conjunction with your smartphone, but you’ll find BMW’s infotainment is so good you needn’t faff around connecting your phone – a relief because you can’t get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity is only free for the first year.
In addition to an Apple CarPlay subscription, you’ll have to pay extra for a wireless phone charging pad and the upgraded Harman Kardon stereo. The standard stereo sounds fine, but this upgrade has a healthy dose of extra bass thanks to its more powerful speakers and beefier amplifier.