Ergonomics and luxury: more space, enhanced functionality, new elegance
In addition to greater space, the 3 Series interior offers reduced noise levels, improved climate control and a host of new features – standard and optional – that enhance luxury and convenience. And the design of this new interior is just as fresh as the exterior.
As always in BMWs, the driver enjoys his or her experience at the wheel partly because BMW has designed the interior to optimize that experience. All operational and informational elements essential to driving are grouped on and around the steering wheel; although many aspects of the control layout are updated, the most central informational element remains the traditional pair of round analog instruments directly in front of the driver.
A sharp eye will note that the two front door panels differ: on the passenger side there’s a sloped vertical door pull; on the driver’s side, where the power-window controls are newly grouped on the armrest, the door pull is integrated into that armrest. Both front doors include large storage bins.
In a choice exclusive to the 3 Series, the instrument panel is offered in two forms: standard, with a single hood above the instrument cluster; and optional, with a double-wave theme creating a second hood over the optional Navigation/iDrive control display. With the latter configuration, there is also the iDrive controller between the front seats.
New automatic climate control
Though the previous 3 Series has excellent automatic climate control, the current models’ system offers an even higher level of performance, sophistication and features.
New features include –
Separate left and right temperature controls vs. the predecessors’ single temperature control.
Temperature- and volume-controlled rear air outlets that give rear passengers greater control over their environment.
Climate-controlled center console compartment.
Mist sensor. Via the windshield wipers’ rain sensor, misting of the windshield is sensed visually and system operation adjusted to clear it up.
Heat at Rest. Allows heating the interior for a limited time with the engine off. Familiar from larger BMW models but new to the 3 Series; facilitated by the engine’s electric coolant pump.
Maximum a/c setting for rapid cool-down at a single touch of a button.
Increased blower power means not only increased maximum cooling or heating power, but also quieter operation at the normal blower speeds that are now a smaller proportion of maximum.
Further optimized design of ducts and outlets, also cutting airflow noise.
Automatic reduction of blower speed when the vehicle comes to a stop, for yet another reduction in noise.
Indirect airflow via outlets atop the dash, for pleasant, draft-free climatization (not for defrosting or demisting).
Recall of individual users’ settings via Key Memory:
Manually selected air distribution (windshield, body-level, footwells)
Other thoughtful features continue from the previous system:
Active-charcoal microfilter ventilation
Bi-directional solar sensor for front compartment (takes into account the intensity and direction of solar heat in determining cooling of interior)
Automatic recirculation control, with specific sensing capability for diesel exhaust.
Two audio systems, two subwoofers
As before, two audio systems are offered. One is the 10-speaker system that’s standard in 328i/xi models; the other is the acclaimed 13-speaker Logic7 system – optional in 328i/xi, standard in the 335i model and making its 3 Series debut. Both systems include two subwoofers in BMW’s patented positions, in cavities at the bases of the B-pillars (“under the front seats”).
To the 10 speakers of the 328i/xi standard system, Logic7 adds a center-fill speaker to the instrument panel and two midrange speakers in the rear doors; all speakers are upgraded. Logic7’s digital Surround Sound process provides uniquely realistic reproduction, generating a 360° sound field and accurately re-creating the acoustic intent of the original studio master.
Upholstery and trim: standard wood, optional leather
Leatherette upholstery is standard in all models; leather is available in four colors, two of them new. Dark Burl Walnut trim is standard; lighter-tone Poplar Natural and aluminum trim are available at no extra cost. Following a lead set by the 5, 6 and 7 Series, new “galvanic” trim appears on the instruments‘ and Start/Stop button‘s outer rings and several other interior detail elements; this elegant material has a plastic core, with a true metallic surface applied galvanically in several layers and a clear top coat to protect against corrosion.
Seating choices, including sport seats with adjustable backrest width
Height-adjustable, 6-way manual front seats are standard in 328i/xi models; 8-way power seats are optional in 328i/xi and standard in the 335i model. New are available sport seats with adjustable backrest width, a feature first seen in the M3 Coupe. Available in both Sedan models are split folding rear seats and an interior-to-trunk pass-through with ski bag.
Seating choices are only one amenity among the many enjoyed by drivers and passengers in the 3 Series. Others include –
Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, the latter offered on this Series for the first time.
A digital compass, set into the interior mirror.
A standard 2-way power moonroof with more opening area than before on the Sedans; on the Sports Wagon, an even larger dual-panel moonroof.
Voice Command, included in the Navigation/iDrive option.
Available Bluetooth interface for cellphones.
Front and rear overhead consoles, each with separate left/right reading lights, Ambiance Lighting and other features. Predecessor models had an overhead console and Ambiance Lighting only at the front.
A fold-up rear center armrest.
Increased cargo space, handy trunk features in Sedans
Elimination of the spare tire and jack, possible because run-flat tires are standard across the board, has helped create approximately 12% more cargo space than before. Moreover, the official EPA measurement on which this claim is based does not include a deep well under the trunk floor that encloses about 1.75 cubic feet and offers a place to store smaller objects without worry of their moving around when the vehicle is in motion.
Sports Wagons interior and cargo area
Up front, the Sports Wagons offer the same accommodations as the Sedans, except as affected by the Wagons’ Panorama moonroof. Front and rear leg room are identical for the two body styles; front and rear head room are almost identical. The Wagons’ standard split folding rear seats offer essentially the same functions and benefits as those that are optional in the Sedan.
The big difference, of course, is aft of the rear seats, where in terms of load-carrying ability and versatility the Sports Wagons offer advantages not only over the Sedans, but also over its predecessor. As always with a new BMW – especially new BMW Sports Wagons – the 328i/xi abound with rational design and thoughtful details:
High-lift tailgate, electrically released from remote or interior switch.
Separately opening rear window, for convenient loading without opening the tailgate.
Fully lined cargo area – floor, sides, back sides of rear seats – with luxurious, yet long-wearing carpet.
Wider than that in the previous Wagon, and with straight, essentially vertical sides, the cargo area presents various cargo possibilities:
16.2 cubic feet of volume with the seats upright and cargo loaded to the top of the seats
24.8 cubic feet with the seats upright and cargo loaded to the ceiling
60.9 cubic feet with the seats folded and cargo loaded to the ceiling
Luggage straps on the right side
Bag holder at either side
12-volt accessory power outlet on the left-hand wall.
Cargo cover, concealing cargo when the seats are upright; user has option of having cover rise when rear window or tailgate is opened (by tapping the release twice) or remaining in place (by tapping once).
If, once raised, a rear-seat backrest is not fully locked into place, a red tab appears to help call users’ attention to it.
A cargo net, carried in a roller assembly with the cargo cover, that can be mounted with the rear seats either upright or folded
Red light at left bottom of tailgate, for safety; visible when tailgate is open.
A Cargo Compartment package, which offers additional storage configurations, is available as a BMW center-installed accessory.
Dual-panel Panoramic Moonroof
With its large roof opening, this feature gives occupants almost the feeling of being in a convertible. The power glass roof consists of two panels, both of which can be tilted up at the rear. The forward, larger panel can also be slid open; together, their glass area is almost 6.5 square feet. Although the glass is effectively tinted, there is also a power-operated interior shade; 1-touch operation is provided for all motions, including that of the interior shade.
BMW On-board Navigation System. With this option, the instrument panel gains a “second wave” that houses the iDrive monitor; the iDrive controller is on the center console. The comprehensive system includes – • 8.8-in. Control Display (color monitor), high-resolution 640 x 240 pixels • Controller with Force Feedback (incorporates tactile feedback into controller movements) • GPS Navigation with DVD database and Real Time Traffic Information • Voice Command system
The four main-menu choices are: Communication – phone functions, BMW Assist and certain TeleService functions. Entertainment – radio, Sirius Satellite Radio when present, and CD functions. If the optional Logic7 audio system is present, this menu also leads to its Surround Sound effect and Digital Sound Processing. Climate – Functions beyond those provided via hard controls include automatic ventilation, for use when the vehicle is left parked. Navigation – GPS Navigation, on-board information, trip computer, speed limit and stopwatch functions. Models equipped with navigation will have Real Time Traffic Information, including a 4-year subscription to the service.
Additionally, the i-menu (reached by pressing the controller while in the main menu) offers choices for vehicle display and control settings as well as vehicle service. Here, under the Condition-Based Service menu option, one can observe the remaining miles to selected service and maintenance procedures, as well as legally mandated inspections. (Examples: front and rear brake pads, brake fluid, sparkplugs, engine coolant.) Under TeleService, key vehicle data are transmitted automatically to the BMW center when the Condition-Based Service sensors detect an upcoming service need, or manually when the driver activates the Service Request button under BMW Assist in the control display. The BMW center then contacts the customer to set a service appointment. (Requires activated BMW Assist telematics.)
Sirius Satellite Radio. This appealing path to entertainment, news and information channels is available as a factory option. A subscription fee is required for Sirius service. Logic7 sound system, with 13 premium speakers, Surround Sound, Digital Sound Processing; standard in the 335i, optional in 328i/xi models.
Power rear-window sunshade and manual rear door-window shades*, available for Sedans. The rear-window shade is controlled from a console switch; the side shades are easily raised or lowered by rear-seat passengers. Manual rear door-window shades are available for the Sports Wagons.