This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW 3-Series Saloon review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Strong safety record for the 3 Series
  • But it’s an older design than many rivals
  • Lots of safety kit remains optional

BMW 3 Series: will my Isofix child seats fit?

There’s no doubting the inherent safety of the BMW 3 Series Saloon, but it’s also worth noting that it is an ageing design that gained its five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating back in 2012.

That said, BMW is an advanced engineering company and in the years since it was introduced the 3 Series has been made available with much of the newer safety tech the firm has introduced.

In addition to the usual raft of airbags and electronic stability software, all 3 Series Saloons come with full LED lights front and rear that switch on automatically, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, rear parking sensors and run-flat tyres for added stability if a puncture occurs.

Optional BMW 3 Series Saloon safety equipment

Naturally, extra safety equipment is also available but you have to pay more for it. That means if you want desirable features such as adaptive cruise control – it’s one of the best, incidentally – automatic main beam, a head-up display function or a digital instrumentation binnacle, you’ll have to dig deep.

Disappointingly, the Driving Assistant – a package that incorporates autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning and preventive pedestrian protection – is also on the options list.

How many Isofix points in the BMW 3 Series Saloon?

Isofix child seat-mounting points are located in the outer two positions of the rear bench seat, but given the relatively compact dimensions of the 3 Series Saloon’s interior, fitting an adult in the centre position afterwards will prove uncomfortable.

WATCH: BMW 3 Series Euro NCAP crash test video

BMW 3 Series: will my family fit?

Compact four-door cars are rarely the last word in automotive practicality and the BMW 3 Series Saloon doesn’t alter this mindset.

Strictly speaking there are five seatbelts but four adults will travel much more comfortably in the car than if there’s an additional passenger sat in the middle of the rear bench. Regardless, those in the back have less space to luxuriate in than the pair up front.

Storage for odds and ends is sufficient rather than generous, with decently proportioned door bins, glovebox and cupholders.

BMW 3 Series: will it fit in my garage?

If you’re progressing to a 3 Series Saloon from a more mainstream hatchback, it shouldn’t prove to be too daunting a proposition.

 All versions come with rear parking sensors as standard, helping judge the otherwise hidden rear end of the car, although you’ll pay extra for a set at the front and reversing or 360-degree cameras.

Size-wise it’s relatively dainty, so finding a supermarket parking space or slotting it into your garage shouldn’t prove too tricky.

BMW 3 Series: will my luggage fit?

Outright practicality’s not usually a primary concern for buyers of four-door cars, as demonstrated by the BMW 3 Series Saloon’s stubby bootlid with a correspondingly small opening.

The firm’s argument is that if you need extra flexibility then the hatchback 3 Series Gran Turismo and estate 3 Series Touring are also available.

You can increase the capacity of the 480-litre boot by opting for the split-folding rear seats, but then you’ll have to factor in the cost of another extra.

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the BMW 3-Series Saloon (12-19).

  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Audio remote
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • Cruise control
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric mirrors
  • Front electric windows
  • Heated mirrors
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Rear electric windows
  • Remote locking
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Equipment included on some trim levels
  • Air conditioning
  • Central locking
  • Cloth seat trim
  • DVD
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Sat Nav
  • Sports seats

Efficient Dynamics Plus equipment

Efficient Dynamics Plus standard equipment
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
Efficient Dynamics Plus optional equipment
None available

Efficient Dynamics Sport equipment

Efficient Dynamics Sport standard equipment
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
  • Sports seats
Efficient Dynamics Sport optional equipment
None available

EfficientDynamics equipment

EfficientDynamics standard equipment
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Front fog lights
  • Parking sensors
EfficientDynamics optional equipment
  • DVD
  • Sat Nav

EfficientDynamics Business equipment

EfficientDynamics Business standard equipment
  • Front fog lights
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
EfficientDynamics Business optional equipment
  • DVD

ES equipment

ES standard equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Front fog lights
ES optional equipment
  • DVD
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav

Luxury equipment

Luxury standard equipment
  • Front fog lights
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
Luxury optional equipment
  • DVD
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sat Nav

M Sport equipment

M Sport standard equipment
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • Sports seats
M Sport optional equipment
  • Cloth seat trim
  • DVD
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sat Nav

M Sport Shadow Edition equipment

M Sport Shadow Edition standard equipment
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
  • Sports seats
M Sport Shadow Edition optional equipment
  • DVD
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Metallic Paint

M3 equipment

M3 standard equipment
  • DVD
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
  • Sports seats
M3 optional equipment
None available

M3 30 Jahre Edition equipment

M3 30 Jahre Edition standard equipment
  • Central locking
  • DVD
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Folding rear seats
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
  • Sports seats
M3 30 Jahre Edition optional equipment
  • Electric sunroof

M3 CS equipment

M3 CS standard equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Folding rear seats
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • Sat Nav
  • Sports seats
M3 CS optional equipment
None available

Modern equipment

Modern standard equipment
  • Front fog lights
  • Parking sensors
  • Partial leather seat trim
Modern optional equipment
  • DVD
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sat Nav

SE equipment

SE standard equipment
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Front fog lights
  • Parking sensors
SE optional equipment
  • DVD
  • Folding rear seats
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sat Nav

Sport equipment

Sport standard equipment
  • Front fog lights
  • Parking sensors
  • Sports seats
Sport optional equipment
  • Cloth seat trim
  • DVD
  • Folding rear seats
  • Leather seat trim
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sat Nav

Euro NCAP Rating – 5 stars

The BMW 3-Series Saloon (12-19) was tested by Euro NCAP in 2012 and was awarded a 5 star overall rating. This overall rating is calculated from the following individual ratings:

5 star rating
Test 2012
Individual safety ratings
Adult Occupant: 95%
Child Occupant: 84%
Vulnerable Road Users: 78%
Safety Assist: 86%

Euro NCAP provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. The safety ratings are determined from a series of vehicle tests, designed and carried out by Euro NCAP. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants or other road users.