Originally Posted by GTACharlie
Are we talking about the same cars? My BMW M3 (and my wife's 325) had plenty of space both front and back as well as a surprisingly large boot - I can't think of another full on sports car with more room than an M3 (with 2 kids at the time, it was a primary consideration). I tracked my M3 as well, and at 186cm, was able to fit in there with a full helmet with no difficulty whatsoever. I also found there to be plenty of leg room with the pedal area perfectly spaced for heel-and-toe shifting.
I agree that the 5 series doesn't add much room to the back seat area beyond what the 3 gives you, but there is certainly significantly more room in the front (especially in the M5 where the seats are lower).
Although not nearly as roomy as my M3, I find my 147 GTA to have much more room in the front seat (leg and hed room) than my wife's 156 wagon, and again, a surprisingly large boot (though not as big as an M3's.
I am only talking about space for the driver here, I don't (have to) care for passengers
I drove a 'simple' old-model 318 a few times, and it has the same problem as my dad's brand-new 3-series touring - simply no leg-space. I also have rather long legs. To shift gears in both those cars I have to push my knee against the steering wheel, which is not the most comfortable thing you can imagine. I talked to a german BMW engineer once about this and he said this was normal, since they use test-models which fit 85% of the population to be seated "comfortably". I guess I'm one of those 15% not included, but I can't really consider myself to be "unlucky", since I don't like BMW's style, look & feel in general (actually - of most german cars). Strange though that the 1 series is better on this level than the 3 and 5 series.
I can't complain about my 147, and it seems the smaller the car, the more space you have as a driver. I drove a Peugeot 206, which was comparable to the 147 regarding space, but the 147 has a much better driving position (not mentioning the much better interior
). BMW's 1-series and new mini, Renault's Clio (my mom's megane is a nightmare for me to drive) , etc. all seem to confirm this.