The 2009 BMW 3-Series justifies its admittedly high base price with a combination of wonderful driving dynamics and high-end comfort and quality, although the BMW 3-Series does lose some points in terms of available cargo space.4
Seating capacity for the BMW 3-Series is exactly what you would expect: wagons and sedans hold five, while the smaller coupe holds four, according to Cars.com. Predictably, front-seat passengers in the coupe will be more comfortable than rear-seat riders, TheCarConnection.com discovered. ConsumerGuide found that head room and leg room in the 3-Series was good for all but the tallest drivers, and that the seats were well-bolstered to hold occupants in place during spirited driving. Edmunds wrote that adults should use the rear seats for short trips only, adding that most will take exception to being stuck behind the driver or passenger for long hauls.
For daily drives, the 3-Series is a standout in most respects, but the coupe lacks cargo capacity to be all things to all people. ConsumerGuide wrote that the coupe's small opening won't hold large packages, but it is helped by standard split-folding rear seats that open up for more room. Split-folding seats aren't standard on sedan models, but they help maximize the space in the trunk. Cars.com reports that the sedan's trunk holds 12 cubic feet of cargo with the seats up, but the most space-efficient version is the wagon. Edmunds wrote that the five-door wagon holds the most gear, thanks to more vertical space from the tall hatch.
Most critics have praised the build quality of the 3-Series, noting the luxury-car level of interior materials and attention to detail. ConsumerGuide wrote that the cabin has soft-touch materials all the way around, with a sturdy feel—going so far as saying that the car had an "ingot-solid" construction. Edmunds lauded the materials as "exceptional" and Car and Driver noted the upgraded materials from the last generation of the 3-Series, which was a high bar that was set by the automaker.
ConsumerGuide and Car and Driver noted the quiet cabin and lack of wind noise at most speeds. We've found that it takes effort to hear a thrum from noise coming off the tires, and Car and Driver agreed by saying that the interior is well isolated. ConsumerGuide found that tire noise was minimal, but that at speed there was some highway noise leaking into the cabin.