2013 BMW 3 Series: Car Seat Check

For 2013, BMW's compact sedan grew slightly longer and wider and welcomed some new powertrains to the lineup. What hasn't changed much is the 3 Series' fun-to-drive nature and luxurious interior. Despite its compact size, the five-passenger sedan offers plenty of room for two child-safety seats, and installation is a breeze thanks to Latch anchors that top our list of favorites.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

What We Like

  • The two sets of Latch anchors sit under exposed plastic covers and are among the easiest we've ever used.
  • The wide, flat seat bottom cushion was great for the booster. After we raised the head restraint, installation was easy and there was plenty of room. The buckles are on stable bases, so kids should have no problem buckling up independently.
  • The rear-facing convertible was easy to install. We only had to move the front passenger seat forward a tiny bit, but there was still plenty of legroom.

What We Don't

  • The three tether anchors on the rear shelf were tricky. The opening is small, which necessitated a bit of twisting to connect our forward-facing convertible's tether hook.
  • The rear-facing infant seat was easy to install, but we had to move the front passenger seat forward to accommodate it. An average-size adult will have enough legroom; a taller passenger will need more.






Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front- passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.

Research the BMW 3 Series
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Unfortunately for those with children you will be transferring those car seats from your car to a BMW loaner more frequently than you will like. Darn things are ALWAYS in the shop even when new..


AgentMike is talking utter nonsense, My cars never been to the shop , other then for its normal service, My previous POS Ford and chev on the other hand.... My bmws been awesome. And the kids love it.


I just got my 3 series yesterday because my first baby is supposed to be coming in less than a month and her car seat was not fitting in my Mini Convertible..

Im happy to see that this car work pretty well with car seats, I haven't tried it yet.

I do have to say that my mini (owned by BMW) has been in the shop a lot when I first bought it, but I eventually came to terms with the fact that the dealer couldn't fix the problems I was complaining about and gave up.


+1 to AgentZ's experience. Wife and I own a 2007 E92 and 2010 E70, either w/ no problems to date. Actually, only issue is my 7 yr old E92 is impractical for our 13 month old...


Thank you for this article. I have done a lot of research on different sedans and narrowed it down to buying this car in a few months. Then we just found out we're pregnant so will need more room than we expected. Good to know I can still get this vehicle! Still debating between this, the wagon and GT. Tough choices :)


I am sorry but I have just spent weeks trying to find a safe booster that fits in our BMW 3 series 2011 and have to say I am at a loss! I I have tried almost all the top Which rated models Britax, Kiddy, Cybex, Recaro..... really hope it is better in the 2013 model. Whoever tried this out never then actually tried to buckle the booster with a child in it. The ISOFIX latch is too close to the seat belt and you must use two hands to buckle it. To do that you have to climb on top of your child and half way in the car. I am dreading the years we will have to do this twister act. There may be some less safe booster that does not use the ISOfix or is narrower but that is not a choice you should have to make.


Unfortunately, the installation of the rear facing seats here are not completely safe. There should be a hand width space at least between the car seat and the back of the passenger seat.

With our X1 and infant bucket car seat, we have to move the passenger seat all the way to the front to have enough space. So the passenger seat becomes unusable. Passenger must ride in the back with the baby!

Jennifer Geiger, Assistant Managing Editor, News

As long as the back of the front passenger seat is not pushing up against the back of the infant seat and affecting its angle, it's safe. Maintaining the car seat's correct angle is what's important. A full hand's width is not required.



We just fitted 2 Cybex X-fix with the Iso into the rear seat of our 2011 BMW 320i Touring with no problem, at all. I'm still trying to understand how no one else seems to be able to do this. My only concern is some seat belt retractor issue that I cannot seem to get any details on other than it being mentioned. The belts seem to stay in place even with the little guys moving around and I'm not seeing the belt stay slack and not retract. Does anyone else have any more details?

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