The 2014 BMW 3-Series remains a sport sedan first and foremost. But with the addition of Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo (GT) models, the lineup now has some great options for active families.
At about 183 inches long—a few inches longer than the previous version—the 3-Series sedan is still very much compact by U.S. standards. With last year's redesign, the 3-Series got a couple of extra inches of length and wheelbase, with most of that About two inches of that going to extra legroom in back.
It's now possible to fit adults in back in the sedan, although taller occupants will still be splaying their knees and you won't want to subject adults to vast distances in the back seat. It's no executive limo, but it'll fit kids or a quick lunch with co-workers just fine.
Trunk space in sedans is impressive, even though the trunk opening can be a bit small for fitting larger or longer items. As with some other premium models, you can move your foot under the rear bumper to pop the trunk when your hands are full, if you have the keyfob.
The new 2014 BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo (GT) might look from some angles like just a hatchback version of the sedan. But it's more than that; with a completely different roofline, a higher hoodline, and a completely repositioned seating arrangement, the GT offers a somewhat different, higher, driving position, plus many inches more space to back-seat passengers--although headroom feels a bit tight in the back positions. Cargo-wise, the GT has some of the versatility offered by the Sports Wagon, although the shallow, sloping hatch can be a limiting factor.
Ride quality is superb in virtually all models in the lineup. While the base 328i setup is definitely the most isolated, thanks mainly to its slightly higher-profile tires, you don’t sacrifice all that much in going with one of the sportier tire and wheel combinations. That can't be said of most of this model's rivals, which can get pretty harsh with their top-performing (or showiest) setups.
Likewise, you’ll find a bit of road noise in the 3-Series on some of the coarser surfaces, but it’s nothing compared to some other models in this class like the Infiniti G37 or Lexus IS 350. Even four-cylinder models are geared tall for highway cruising.
Across the lineup, you get the latest version of iDrive, which requires you to use a multi-way controller down on the center console to navigate menus for non-essential functions. It's much easier to intuit than earlier versions of the system, and we don't seeing it as a deal-breaker, yet you'll want to spend some time getting a tutorial at the dealership. We do, however, like how the latest models with navigation also add a capacitive touch pad on top of the controller--a very useful feature.