2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: Blind operation of the driver seat

July 08, 2009

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Our long-term 2009 BMW M3 sedan has very supportive and comfortable front seats.
And a lot of available adjustments.

Let's run them down, from left to right in the top pic:

1. Adjusts seat back side bolster width, so both supermodels and those aspiring to be on "The Biggest Loser" can be comfortable.

2. 4-way adjustable lumbar support: In/Out & Up/Down. I have never found the Up/Down feature useful in any vehicle -- but that's just me.

3. Seat bottom fore/aft and height

4. Seat back rake

5. 2-setting memory control

6. (Bottom pic shows manual thigh support extension)

The first few times I drove the M3, I was confused by all the seat controls. You see, when the controls are in this position, we use blind operation to control them -- you just reach down without looking. There is a low limit as to the amount of information we can process without visual cues. (I suppose you could conduct trial & error -- what a pain.)

Benz and others have previously gotten around this by placing the seat adjust switches on the door panel -- it's a better user interface. However, this is undesirable from a styling standpoint.

After a short time, I was able to discern our M3's different seat switches with blind operation because they are well-spaced. But I had to first get out and look at them from outside.

All of these seat adjustments could befuddle a Camry driver.
But on a driver's car like the M3, once you understand them, they're quite useful.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 5600 miles

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