2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: iPhone Holder? No. iMac Holder? Yes.

December 02, 2009

BMW M3 iPhone Cupholder.JPG

Our Long-Term 2009 BMW M3 is nearly flawless in its execution. Refined. Comfortable. Dynamically thrilling. It's hard to fault the car. But I love a challenge.

In this case the challenge was finding a way to secure my iPhone while keeping it easy to access. Most cars offer multiple pockets for such duty between the front seats, but not the M3. Initially I tried putting it in the small, shallow ash tray ahead of the shifter, but that resulted in an iPhone lost beneath the driver's seat after one semi-aggressive right turn.

My next attempt involved one of the elaborate cupholders that deploy above the glovebox (shown above). But like the ash tray this storage bin is too shallow, and I eventually relocated the precariously shifting iPhone before it fell out.

Eventually I stuffed it in the console pocket under the armrest. It fits in there, and I can technically answer incoming phone calls by hitting the main iDrive button. But if I need to do something more elaborate, like find an address in my address book or let my wife use the Zagat appliction to find a restaurant, I have to dig it back out. This has been an issue with BMW's for years -- no easily accessible storage bins for cell phones, sunglasses, access cards, etc.

Maybe it's like iDrive, and I "just don't get" the design brilliance of an interior without storage bins.

BMW M3 Trunk with iMac.JPG

On the other hand, our long-term M3 proved perfectly sized for carrying home a new Apple iMac my Dad bought during his Thanksgiving visit. I knew we could fit it in the car, but thought it might involve rear seat space. Turns out a 27-inch iMac, in the box, snugs up almost perfectly between the rear seat back and the M3's trunk lip, with room for a wireless printer left over.

If only the M3 could hold smaller Apples as well as it carries larger ones.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 12,450 miles

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