Even if you were to blank out the iconic blue-and-white roundel on the 3 Series’ characteristically thick-rimmed steering wheel, it’s unlikely you’d identify this cabin as belonging to anything other than a BMW.
The architectural relationship to Munich’s wider contemporary model offering is clear: a high-resolution central display still sits atop two central air vents, which in turn straddle a bank of buttons for the HVAC and media systems. The centre console, meanwhile, houses the gearshifter, drive mode selection switches (now individual ones rather than a toggle) and rotary dial controller for the infotainment suite.
As far as graphical sophistication and fluidity is concerned, it seems fair to say that BMW now leads the class. Only the infotainment systems in the newest Audi models (which have only just found their way into the A4) really give BMW’s Operating System 7.0 a run for its money in terms of visual wow factor. The car’s digital instrument cluster isn’t quite as neat-looking, but is still clear and easy to read.
Satellite navigation, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity are included as standard – all of which can be accessed easily via the rotary dial or the 8.8in touchscreen, the latter increasing to 10.25in in size with BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional option (standard on M Sport cars).
Apple CarPlay preparation is also included as standard, although rather controversially this service is only available free of charge for the first year of ownership. Once that year is up, you’ll need to pay an annual subscription fee to continue being able to use it. BMW still refuses to acknowledge the significant portion of its customer base that use a smartphone powered by Google, with Android Auto remaining absent.