2016 BMW 340i: How Well Do Child Safety Seats Fit?
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on August 15, 2016
Is a 2016 BMW 340i a viable family car if you've got little kids? Buying a luxury sedan packed with luxo-goodies and a stout 320 horsepower might pull on your heartstrings, but if you can't easily install child safety seats, your leather-lined rocketship won't do you much good.
Fortunately, the current 3 Series has you covered.
I'll start with the most challenging test: installing a rear-facing safety seat. A vehicle needs plenty of rear legroom in order to have enough space for the seat. Otherwise, you'll have to move the front seats forward, and that can be potentially problematic for the driver and/or front passenger.
You might not word-associate "BMW 3 Series" with "roomy," but I was pleasantly surprised by the relative ease of installing my older Britax Marathon reversible car seat. (This seat is for toddlers, but a rear-facing infant safety seat will take up a similar amount of room.) I did have to power the front passenger seat forward a few inches from its normal position to provide enough clearance. But I sat up front afterwards and found that the remaining front legroom was still what I'd consider viable for an adult (I'm 5'10").
I also like the 3 Series' easy-to-locate LATCH connectors: just lift up the plastic covers and, with a Madden-esque boom!, there they are. The seat cushions are relatively flat, too. Luxury-class rear seats are often heavily contoured, which makes it harder to get a safety seat installed correctly.
The angle of both the seat cushion and the seatback can be issues, as well. I did prop up the child safety seat to the correct level by using a rolled up towel, but this is typical in my experience.
It was similarly straightforward to strap down the seat in its front-facing position. The rear head restraints are removable, and that allows you to get the safety seat installed snugly against the seatback.
Removing the head restraints also provides a less-obstructed view to the top LATCH tether anchor points.
Finally, the easy install: a high-back booster seat. This Recaro booster fit perfectly.
All in all, it was a solid showing for our long-term 340i.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,112 miles