The interplay of surfaces and lines fills the interior with life. The interior of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is straight out of the BMW design handbook. The driver-focused cockpit wraps around the driver and puts all the important controls within easy reach. The cockpit is angled towards the driver by seven degrees. The surfaces and lines flow over the instrument panel towards the front passenger side of the cabin, where they form a smooth, protective border. In the driver’s area all the lines converge on a single point behind the steering wheel and guide the eye towards the road.
The cockpit’s four circular dials (fuel gauge, speedometer, rev counter and oil temperature gauge) come with a black panel display. Positioned on the horizontally-structured instrument panel, the freestanding standard-fitted iDrive monitor with high-resolution display recalls the latest flatscreen televisions normally found in living rooms rather than cars. The monitor has no folding mechanism or binnacle, allowing the entire dashboard to retain its flat, smooth lines and giving the interior a lighter, more dynamic feel.
On the driver’s side of the deliberately asymmetric centre tunnel, a different trim surface and graining mark out the active driving elements of the interior, while the trim surface on the front passenger side exudes a pleasingly elegant air. Positioned centrally on the centre console within easy reach of both the driver and the front passenger is the standard iDrive Controller. Underneath the armrest – with optional fore/aft adjustment – between the front seats, meanwhile, is a compartment for mobile devices (e.g. mobile phones, MP3 players and smartphones), which also contains a USB/AUX-IN socket.
More space, wide variety of storage compartments, even greater practicality. The car’s larger dimensions (length + 93 mm, wheelbase + 50 mm) mean that rear passengers can now enjoy extra legroom. Behind the fully contoured front seats, 15 millimetres of additional knee room and eight millimetres of extra headroom further enhance the passengers’ comfort on the road. Backrest nets available as an option as part of the storage package offer additional accommodation for small items, reflective vests and road maps. Larger pockets in the front doors, whose lines and surfaces open up towards the instrument panel, now have space for drinks bottles up to one litre in size. Added to which, two large drinks holders are now integrated into the centre console ahead of the gearshift lever. If desired, the cupholders can be swapped for an oddments tray, which is stored in a designated area of the glove compartment when not in use. The new sedan offers 480 litres of boot capacity, 20 litres more than the outgoing model. And an innovative and practical solution allows extremely convenient access inside. If the optional Comfort Access is specified, the boot can be opened hands-free and without needing to use a key: all you need to do is move your foot around underneath the bumper to trigger the opening mechanism for the boot lid (see also BMW ConnectedDrive). He can then comfortably load as much as seven standard crates of bottled drinks, three golfbags or a pram over the boot sill, which is a mere 66 centimetres high (just under 26 in.). Standard-fitting securing lugs hold the items firmly in place, while a storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep storage compartment on the left-hand side accommodate small oddments. For bulky items, the optional through-loading facility includes a folding rear seat bench to allow flexible transport solutions. The 40:20:40 split rear backrests offer unbeatable versatility when you need to carry passengers and long items, such as several pairs of skis or snowboards, at the same time. (A matching BMW ski/snowboard bag is available from the BMW Accessories range).
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