2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3 Sedan: No Way to Center Mount A Baby Seat

July 20, 2009

LATCH-anchor-won't-fit.jpg

Our M3 Sedan doesn't have an owner's manual so finding out details like this is sometimes a trial-and-error procedure. This weekend I tried to mount the world's largest convertible baby seat in middle of the M3's back seat. Middle mounting provides a space cushion on either side of the car seat. LATCH anchor detail.jpg Here's what the innermost passenger side LATCH anchor (there are four total) looks like. Look carefully and you'll see that the webbing from the conventional seatbelt anchors prevents the LATCH clasp on the car seat from fastening in right side up. Of course, you could twist in and it will fit fine, but twisting reduces the webbing's load bearing ability and seems just plain stupid.

So, the question is, does BMW do this intentionally to keep us from installing the seat in the center position (for safety, presumably) or is this dilemma simply a byproduct of the car's design? I think it's the former, as I've had this same problem in our Audi A4.

To center mount the seat, one must use the regular seat belt to tether it to the car, which isn't nearly as secure.

I just want maximize safety when I carry my child in the car. Having the crush space around her (by center mounting the seat) seems far safer than putting her on one side. But using the conventional seat belt isn't ideal.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ about 6,100 miles

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