2020 BMW 3 Series

#7
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$40,750 - $42,750
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8.1

Overall Rating

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2020 BMW 3 Series Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: January 31, 2020
Aaron Smith's image

Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist

This icon has been in the market for more than four decades now but age seems to be just a number for this stalwart. Now in its sixth generation, the 3 series is still BMW's bestselling model. The BMW 3 series meanwhile comes with minor changes this year and offers a wide array of powertrains and body configurations that include a wagon, sedan and Gran Turismo.

All the 3 Series trims are powered by different engine options and all are turbocharged. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine comes standard on all the trims with increasing power output respectively. Meanwhile, the top trim 340i comes with a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine

See detailed review »

Pros

Efficient and lively engine's

Sporty driving dynamics

Spacious interior

Intuitive infotainment system

Cons

Lackluster interior quality for the class

Intrusive driver-assist technology

What's New?

Completely redesigned

Six-cylinder engine returns with new M340i model


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$40750

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

255 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

295 lbs.-ft. @ 1550 rpm

transmission

8 speed automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

62.3/62.9

dimensions

wheelbase

112.2 in.

length

185.7 in.

width

71.9 in.

height

56.8 in.

curb weight

3589 lbs.

ground clearance

5.7 in.

capacity

cargo volume

17 cu ft.

payload capacity

825 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.3 sec.

zero to 100 mph

5.6 sec.

standing ¼-mile

13.7 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

26/30/36 mpg

ev range

405.6 mi.

highway range

561.6 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

powertrain warranty

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

12 yr. / unlimited


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

 2020 BMW 3 Series in Alpine White color  2020 BMW 3 Series in Black Sapphire Metallic color  2020 BMW 3 Series in Glacier Silver Metallic color  2020 BMW 3 Series in Jet Black color
Alpine White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.2

Engine And Performance

8.5

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

7.5

Exterior

9.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

8.0

Final Verdict

8.5

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 BMW 3 Series 330i

330i

power
255 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
30 combined

$40,750 - $42,750


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
330i 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $40,750 MSRP (26/30/36) 255 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-speed shiftable automatic rear wheel drive 5
330i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $42,750 MSRP (25/28/34) 255 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.1

Overall Rating


Over the past 40 years, with its six previous incarnations having sold over 15 million examples, the 3 series climaxes into phenomenal success for BMW. There are not many players in the market that can match the 3 series performance and refinement as it feels comfortable and sporty at the same time. Still, the car feels a bit antiquate and some rivals score more on style.

Conflict is healthy, it breeds variety. Competitors began to exploit the steady approach of the 3 series and surpassed in one particular area. The Mercedes-Benz became the most costly from the inside, Audi has class-leading technology and the Jaguar XE is now more enjoyable to drive.

2020 BMW 3 Series Front View
2020 BMW 3 Series Rear View

7.2/10
Features

 

8.5/10
Engine and Performance

 

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.5/10
Interior

 

9.0/10
Exterior

 

9.0/10
Safety

 

8.0/10
Competition

 

8.5/10
Final Verdict

 

2020 BMW 3 Series Features

7.2/10

As is typical of a BMW, the 3 Series is not lacking for variety. For 2020, BMW is offering this vehicle in three body styles: the four-door sedan, the Sports Wagon, and the hatchback-style Gran Turismo. Pricing for the 330i model starts from $40,250 in the U.S. Add xDrive AWD, and pricing jumps to $42,250 plus shipping. 

Trim BMW 330i
MSRP (RWD) $40,750
Starting (xDrive) $42,750
Key Features SensaTec leatherette Seat trim
  Windshield wipers - rain sensing
  1st row regular express open/close sliding and tilting glass Sunroof
  18" machined w/painted accents Aluminum Wheels
  Front air conditioning, dual-zone automatic
  Rear air conditioning, with separate controls
  AM/FM/HD/Satellite-prep, seek-scan Radio
  2 - 1st row LCD monitor
  Keyfob (all doors) Remote keyless entry
  Heated mirrors

Despite the larger dimensions, the new 330i costs just as much like the outgoing model. Standard features across the 330i lineup include Sensatec upholstery (which is BMW's synthetic leather), power-adjustable front seats, HD Radio, ambient lighting, LED headlights, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror and driver's side exterior mirror. 

We Recommend

We would recommend you to go with the standard 330i as it is feature-packed at a VFM price tag. You can also opt for the all-wheel-drive xDrive variant for a better 0 to 60 run and it doesn't hamper the fuel economy by a big margin, just 1 mpg less.

2020 BMW 3 Series Engine and Performance

8.5/10

All the trims in the BMW 3 Series are separated by powertrains and all are turbocharged. The base 330i sedan gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that churns out 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque that is mated to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The 340i comes with a bigger 3.0-litre twin-turbo in-line six pumping out an impressive 383 hp and is one heck of an engine.

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine

The ZF sourced automatic transmission shifts smoothly and makes most of the powertrain. The newest incline of this sport automatic transmission sees a wider gear range which improves vibration elimination. There is a new control unit that further intensifies gearshift dynamics.

 Models BMW 3-Series Mercedes-Benz C Class Jaguar XE Audi A4
Starting MSRP $34,900 $40,250 $35,725 $36,000
Engine Type 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4
Power (hp) 255 @ 5000rpm 255 @ 5800rpm 247 @ 5500rpm 188 @ 4200rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 295 @ 1550rpm 273 @ 1800rpm 269 @ 1300rpm 236 @ 1450rpm

The competition is closely matched with the BMW, offering identical configurations. The base Audi A4 is the closest match in terms of horsepower, and even that offers 10 more than the baby BMW. The sporty Jaguar XE offers the best output figure, followed closely by C-class Mercedes.

Acceleration

Though the BMW 3-Series sedan used to wear the crown in its segment, and still it is. The BMW 3 Series takes 5.6 seconds to reach 60 mph while decimating the quarter-mile mark in 14.1 seconds. The bigger powertrain is a second quicker the inline-four powertrain. Both of the XDrive variants are three-tenth of a second quicker than the RWD variants.

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan 0-60 MPH 7.1 sec

Launch control is standard on every model, making you master and commander of all 382 hp, right off the line. The drag coefficient (Cd) of the BMW 3 Series sedan has been reduced to a low 0.26, a reduction of .03 Cd over the previous BMW 3 Series.

 Models BMW 3-Series Mercedes-Benz C Class Jaguar XE Audi A4
0-60 MPH 5.6 seconds 6.2 seconds 6.0 seconds 6.8 seconds
Quarter Mile 14.1 seconds 14.7 seconds 14.7 seconds 15.2 seconds
Engine Displacement 2.0L 2.0L 2.0L 2.0L

Ride and Handling

For a sedan of its kind, the handling from the 330i is absolutely fine. And if you' re buying a 3 Series, chances are that you' re looking for driving pleasure more than practicality and space. The upgraded chassis and new damper technology help in sharper driving dynamics. These changes help you to reduce body control without an increase in the ride harshness. Low centre of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution helps you attain the best level of handing.

Using the latest CLAR platform the 3 series sedan sheds 55 kg of its weight and which in turn increases body rigidity up to 50 per cent, despite being larger than the predecessor. Of course, a new 3 Series wouldn’t be complete without proper chassis upgrades. The chassis is beautifully well balanced and tempts you to corner faster and harder with the confidence that the 320i can take it and then some. I

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan Front View

BMW has given a centre stage for driving dynamics and it features a Macpherson strut in the front and multilink in the rear but there are now novel dampers with integrated hydraulic bump stops as standard on all 3 Series. The CLAR platform is in now 120 lighter and more rigid over the previous-generation model.

Four drive modes come standard: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. The steering is more responsive and handling is livelier. The 3-series has a good and balanced body control and feels nimble around corners. If comfort in driving is what you’re looking for then the softened suspension won’t disappoint you. 

Braking 

Braking capacity plays a major role in setting the safety standards in luxury sedans like the 330i and the competition is neck and neck here. The M Sport brakes provide excellent braking performance and intuitive feel, whether negotiating city streets or driving around a circuit on a track day.

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan Front brakes 12.3 in.

The BMW 3-Series is equipped with front and rear disc brakes which brings the car at halt from 60 mph in a decent 123 ft. While the figures certainly aren't impressive, they are quite fine for a car with this price tag. 

 Models BMW 3-Series Mercedes-Benz C Class Jaguar XE Audi A4
Front Brake Dia (in) 12.3 13 13.8 12.4
Rear Brake Dia (in) 11.8 11.8 12.8 11.8
60-0 MPH (feet) 123 131 123 105

The only car in this segment with better braking is the 2020 Audi A4 which takes 105 ft before coming to a stop from 60mph, extremely good figures regardless of price or segment. Mercedes disappoints with below-average performance.

2020 BMW 3 Series Fuel Economy

8.0/10

The BMW 3-Series has a fuel-efficient engine. The base trim will give you a more than decent mileage of 26mpg (city), 36mpg (highway) and combined mileage of 30mpg. If you go for the all-wheel-drive, you need not worry about the fuel economy as the car loses only 1 mpg.

Model BMW 3-Series Mercedes-Benz C Class Jaguar XE Audi A4
City (MPG) 26 24 25 27
Highway (MPG) 36 35 34 34
Combined (MPG) 30 28 28 30

The 3-Series is less efficient than Jaguar XE, which has a mileage of 25mpg in the city, and 34mpg on the highway, averaging at 28mpg combined efficiency. Audi surprises here, with the best efficiency figures from the most powerful engine here.

2020 BMW 3 Series Interior

7.5/10

The 3 Series excels in the amount of comfort and support the seats in the front and the rear provide to a total of five passengers ready to be transported by this car. The headroom on the inside is very welcoming to even the tallest of passengers. There' s a proportionate mix of quality materials and leather which is bound to make you feel right at home. 

The instrument panel and the interiors feel outdated and there’s too much unnecessary use of plastic which makes the interiors look pretty average for a BMW.

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan Rear Seats

The car has comfortable leather upholstered seats with properly contoured support for the back which makes it easier for the driver on long drives. The car has a seating capacity of 5 people with ample room for head, legs and knee room.

The base trim offers 6-way manually adjustable front seats with 2-manual headrests while the top trim offers a highly customizable seating option. The 340i has a 14-way power front sports seats, 4-way lumbar support and 2-way power side bolsters ensuring that you experience a satisfying and comfy ride.

 Models BMW 3-Series Mercedes-Benz C Class Jaguar XE Audi A4
Passenger Capacity 5 5 5 5
Front Head Room (in) 40.3 40.9 37.0 38.9
Front Leg Room (in) 42 41.7 41.5 41.3
Front Shoulder Room (in) 55.1 55.3 56.8 55.9
Second Head Room (in) 37.7 37.1 37.0 37.4
Second Leg Room (in) 35.1 35.2 35.0 35.7
Second Shoulder Room (in) 55.1 55 54.7 54.5

The cabin is fine, but overall, the M340i's appearance and quality feel like half a step behind the Audi A4 and Mercedes C43. The C-Class' standards remain higher than all of the rivals. Tha jaguar stays last in terms of creature comfort.

Interior Features

  • SensaTec upholstery
  • 40/20/40 split fold-down through-load rear seats
  • Fine line Anthracite Wood trim with Pearl Gloss Chrome highlight
  • Anthracite headliner
  • Floor mats
  • Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory
  • Automatic climate control
  • Panoramic moon roof
  • Front-seat centre armrest
  • Rear-seat centre armrest with cupholders
  • Tilt/telescopic steering wheel column
  • Park Distance Control, front and rear
  • Automatic-dimming interior rear-view mirror and driver-side exterior mirror
  • Power front and rear windows with "one-touch" up/down operation

Cargo capacity

The 3-Series has a boot volume of 13 cubic ft, which is decent for a small luxury car. It can easily swallow two large bags, and weekend getaways should be fun. There are also cubby holes everywhere in the cabin, providing additional space to hold little nick-nacks.

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan Trunk Volume 13 cu.ft.

A power trunk lid and a hands-free trunk lid are available.

 Models BMW 3-Series Mercedes-Benz C-Class Jaguar XE Audi A4
Trunk Volume (ft3) 13 12.6 14.7 13

Jaguar offers better trunk space, and by a significant margin. The Audi and Merc offer the same trunk space as the BMW, which isn't too bad.

Infotainment system 

The high-quality interior features BMW' s ConnectedDrive system with an 8.8-inch flat screen, while the satellite navigation offers some of the best 3D graphics in the segment. The clarity of the reversing camera and sound quality of the Harman/Kardon system is second to none. 

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan Infotainment System

The XE is a direct response to the 3 Series, offering all the looks, elegance, and performance as the Bimmer, but with a decidedly British style. 

  • 4G LTE
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Aux Input
  • Bluetooth audio
  • Hands-free Bluetooth phone
  • Mobile Wi-Fi
  • Navigation with real-time traffic
  • Real-time weather
  • Voice input

2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior
2020 BMW 3 Series interior

2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior

9.0/10

The BMW 3 series looks classy with the company’s signature double grille while the overall lean appearance appeals more to the devoted fans of the traditional designs of BMW. The wider kidney grille with a single surround for two elements and the new interpretation of the LED twin headlights is inspired from the 5 and 7 series models.

The body is nearly three inches longer compared to the outgoing model, and the wheelbase is also increased. The M340i differentiates itself with larger air dams, and grey accents on the grille surround mirror caps and rear valance. Plus, the car rides on nifty split-spoke, M-specific wheels, which help drive home the sportier look.

2020 BMW 3-Series Sedan 3 Quarter View

The 3-series has a wheelbase of a smidge over 110 inch, which is technically the shortest among its rivals. It also is the lightest standing at a base curb weight of almost 3,300 pounds. Still, the Beemer manages to be quite easy to muscle around the town.

 Models

BMW 3-Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

Jaguar XE

Audi A4

Length (in)

182.5

184.5

183.9

186.1

Width (in)

71.3

71.3

72.8

72.5

Height (in)

56.3

56.8

55.8

56.2

Wheelbase (in)

110.6

111.8

111.6

111

Base Curb Weight (lbs)

3295

3594

3395

3450

Track Width, Front (in)

60.3

61.5

62.8

61.9

Track Width, Rear (in)

61.9

60.9

62.4

61.2

The Mercedes-Benz C Class has the longest wheelbase, 1.2 inches longer than the 3-series. In terms of looks, the Jaguar has no equal. Its flowing lines and swooping headlights capture the onlookers' hearts faster than the other cars here.

What features will attract you the most?

On the outside of the car are premium touches that make the new 3 series feel premium. Some of the highlights include:

  • LED headlights
  • LED fog lights
  • Power folding, heated side mirrors
  • 18-inch bi-colour wheels (Shadow Sport special edition)
  • Double Spoke light-alloy wheels (Style 634), 18 x 8.0; and 245/45 run-flat all-season tires
  • Adaptive LED Headlights
  • Power-folding, heated side mirrors
  • Chrome-line exterior trim
  • Black Chrome exhaust tips
  • Non-metallic paint
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior
2020 BMW 3 Series Exterior

2020 BMW 3 Series Safety

9.0/10

The Bavarians are known to make utterly reliable cars and there is no doubt on the quality of equipment. While the old 3 Series has fallen behind the competition as far as driver assistance features go, the new-generation compact is packed with modern tech. The 3 Series comes with a range of standard-fit safety systems such as stability control and dynamic brake lights and rest of them are listed below :

  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Front and rear Head Protection System (HPS)
  • Seat-mounted front side-impact airbags
  • Knee airbags for driver and front passenger
  • LATCH attachments for child-restraint safety installation
  • Automatic-locking retractors (ALR) on all passenger safety belts for installation of child-restraint seat
  • Front-passenger-seat-occupation recognition with Passenger’s Airbag Off indicator
  • Driver’s and passenger’s front airbag supplemental restraint system (SRS)

2020 BMW 3 Series Competition

8.0/10

BMW 3 Series vs. Audi A4

When contrasted with the 340i, the Audi is more tech-oriented and packs an advanced infotainment system. In terms of driving dynamics and taking high speed on corners, the  Audi A4 walks beside the Bimmer. However, the BMW 3 series is much fun to drive and enthusiasts may want to stick with it. BMW ‘s iDrive infotainment system is still a bit confusing. 

2020 Audi A4 Sedan

Audi comes with more standard features, including leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. Apple CarPlay is standard in the Audi, while it’s only available with a subscription service in the BMW. 

BMW 3 Series vs. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

If a BMW  3 series is there, a Mercedes-Benz will be a natural competitor to it. The Merc is filled with luxuries and comes with more refined interior quality.   While the BMW differentiates itself with its sporty performance, the Mercedes stands out with one of the nicest interiors in the class. You get some of the most advanced safety features with the Mercedes-Benz and semi-automated driving features are available. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C Class is quite expensive, costing $5350 more for its base trim than the 3-Series. It depends upon whether you want to spend an extra 5 grand to get a better engine or have a tight budget and can do with an engine that isn’t as good but performs well.

BMW 3 Series Vs Jaguar XE

The Jaguar XE has a superior performing 247hp 2.0 L engine when compared to the 3-Series (180hp). The Jaguar has the best in class acceleration taking just 6.0 seconds to reach 60mph. Considering that the XE has also equipped with a slightly more economical engine 25/34/28 mpg, the Jaguar XE is the car to go for. 

2020 Jaguar XE Sedan

The XE is a direct response to the 3 Series, offering all the looks, elegance, and performance as the Bimmer, but with a decidedly British style.

2020 BMW 3 Series Final Verdict

8.5/10

Looking at the brighter side, it is incredibly fun to drive sedan that offers tons of comfort, safety and practicality. So the shortcomings can be excused to a certain limit and because there are a number of things the 3 Series does better than its rivals, there' s no harm in going for one of these.

BMW succeeded to keep the car’s curb weight down, and this should. Arguably the biggest step forward here is the technological ascent, as the 3 Series finally has the instruments to go head to head with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4.