2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan

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2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Review: More Performance Than Ever

by Gabe Beita Kiser

The BMW 3 Series has always held a reputation of being one the sportiest compact luxury sedans on the US market. Although in recent years BMW's dominance hasn't been as comprehensive as it may once have been, the seventh generation 3 Series is a return to form, and with the arrival of the 2020 model year, we're greeted by an all new performance derivative in the form of the M340i and M340i xDrive twins. They're no M3, but while the world waits with bated breath for a new full M car, these semi-M models will cater to the performance needs of 90% of the market. Against the ever-improving competition, like the C-Class, and recently, the Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW needs this newest 3 Series to be great. With two available engine choices, a turbo-four and the 3.0-liter turbo-six in the M340i, a high-quality interior, and exceptional day to day manners, things are looking good for the German marque.

Read in this review:

8.8
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2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 3 Series Sedan?

Nothing changes for the BMW 330i models, but the new M340i brings back the German manufacturer's powerful inline six-cylinder engine. This model comes standard with many of the optional specs available to the 330i, such as a sport-tuned suspension and upgraded safety and infotainment systems. The M340i also features a more aggressive exterior - signifying the heavier hand the M Division has had in its development.

Pros and Cons

  • Well designed and appointed interior
  • Two powerful engine choices
  • Athletic handling
  • Spacious trunk
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Infotainment is not user-friendly
  • Driver-assist features aren't intuitive
  • No manual transmission offered

Best Deals on 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
330i Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$40,750
330i xDrive Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$42,750
M340i Sedan
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$54,000
M340i xDrive Sedan
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$56,000
See All 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Trims and Specs

2020 3 Series Sedan Exterior

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Front View BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Rear View BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Front Angle View BMW
See All 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 185.7 in
  • Wheelbase 112.2 in
  • Height 56.8 in
  • Max Width 71.9 in
  • Front Width 62.3 in
  • Rear Width 62.9 in
  • Curb Weight 3,582.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Black Sapphire Metallic +$550
  • Mineral White Metallic +$550
  • Mineral Grey Metallic +$550
  • Sunset Orange Metallic +$550
  • Portimao Blue Metallic +$550
  • Mineral Gray Metallic +$550
  • Melbourne Red Metallic +$550
  • Glacier Silver Metallic +$550
  • Mediterranean Blue Metallic +$550
  • Vermont Bronze Metallic +$550
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Metallic +$550
  • Dravit Grey Metallic +$1,950
  • Tanzanite Blue II Metallic +$1,950
  • Alpine White
  • Jet Black

2020 3 Series Sedan Performance

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Front View Driving BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Rear View Driving BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Engine BMW

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

As one of the sportiest luxury small sedans in the USA, the BMW 3 Series doesn't disappoint once you're behind the wheel. Even the base model 330i comes with more than enough power to give you a thrill around town, but especially on the open road with just the right amount of twists and turns. Plenty of torque is on hand right from the get-go, meaning zipping between intersections around town is a breeze, and even though it is a luxury sedan, the 3 Series is small enough to nimbly weave through traffic and park without too much stress - even without all the handy parking aids.

The steering is light and precise, at least when Comfort mode is enabled, but flip the Sport switch, and you'll find the wheel delivering just the right amount of resistance to really draw you into the driving experience, especially at top speeds. Few luxury sedans really let you know what the wheels are doing, and the 3 Series is no different, failing to communicate effectively.

When it comes to handling, the 3 Series feels even smaller than it actually is, being quick, agile, and eager to respond to driver input. It is still by no means a true sports car, but it emulates the experience quite well. If you opt for the available M suspension or upgrade to the M340i, which comes with it standard, don't be surprised if you find yourself pushing the limits with the sleek little sedan when you test drive it. Heck, you may even find it encouraging you to do so, as it relaxes it's built-in safety features when in the Sport Mode setting.

Perhaps the biggest shortcoming in the sedan is its road comfort. The chassis is a bit stiff for a luxury vehicle, meaning that far too many road abrasions make themselves known to the occupants, despite the plush seating appointments. At least noise is well-dampened thanks to some innovative insulation and sound-resistant windows.

2020 3 Series Sedan Interior

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Dashboard BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Central Console BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Central Console 1 BMW
See All 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.0 in
  • Front Head Room 38.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.6 in

2020 3 Series Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Trunk Space BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Trunk Space 1 BMW
2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Maximum Cargo Space BMW
  • Trunk Volume
    17 ft³

2020 3 Series Sedan Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the BMW 3 Sedan A Good car?

Asking this of any BMW is usually a moot point, but this is especially the case when it comes to the 3 Series. Each model in the line-up is a great car in its own right, but the new M340i trim is an absolute delight for anyone who enjoys a bit of a thrill but doesn't want to sacrifice the practicality of a daily-driver sedan completely.

It's true that the suite of safety features is a little bare compared to rivals, and that the infotainment will give you a headache until you get used to its nuances, but the 3 Series more than makes up for this with its spacious interior and large trunk, especially for a small luxury sedan. That alone may not be enough to catapult any car into the lead, but the BMW does that with its impressively powerful engines, athletic acceleration, and nimble handling.

At a starting price of $40,750, the 330i may not be an everyman's car, but it can certainly be an everyday car for those who can afford it. And it won't ever feel like a poor investment as it brings you surprising joy, even if you just need to pop into town for grocery shopping. But out on the open road, it comes as close to a sports car experience as any non-sports car could hope to be. And if you are willing to lay down a little extra cash, you can find an even more engaging drive in the M340i.

For those who seek even greater thrills, it may be worth your time to wait and see what the future holds for the M3, but if you want an enjoyable driving experience in an affordable small sedan, the 3 Series won't leave you disappointed.

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan Comparisons

Audi A4 Sedan Audi
BMW 5 Series Sedan BMW
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
BMW 3 Series Sedan255 hp26/36 mpg$41,450
Audi A4 Sedan 201 hp24/33 mpg$40,300
BMW 5 Series Sedan 523 hp17/25 mpg$54,800

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs Audi A4 Sedan

The A4 comes in several thousand dollars cheaper than the BMW 3 Series, but you wouldn't think so looking at it, especially on the inside. The Audi is packed with tech features, both infotainment and safety, but this technophilic attitude doesn't overwhelm the stylishly designed cabin, with its upscale materials and excellent build quality. It doesn't hurt that the onboard technology, while more advanced, is even easier to use than the BMW's. In comparison, the exterior design is a bit more muted than the 3 Series', and it doesn't handle quite as well on the road. If you want a well-appointed everyday vehicle, the Audi A4 is a solid choice, but it won't present you with as many opportunities for fun. What it really comes down to is, do you want a fun ride or a comfortable one?

See Audi A4 Sedan Review

2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs BMW 5 Series Sedan

The 5 Series falls into the mid-size sedan segment, while the 3 Series is a small sedan. Naturally, this comes with several pros and cons. The 5 Series is going to cost you quite a bit more, but in return, you get a substantial amount of extra room in the cabin, as well as a few extra cubic feet of trunk space. The seats are more comfortable, and several extra tech features come standard. However, it isn't as nimble as the smaller sedan and, unless you equip the twin-turbocharged V8, it won't feel as powerful as the lighter 3 Series, although lesser derivatives are only a few tenths slower than their 3 Series counterparts. If you are willing to load up the 5 Series fully, you will find it to be an even more powerful and thrilling drive than its little brother; but, nothing can reduce the overall size of the vehicle, meaning that it might not deliver as much driver engagement and it will struggle more with nimble traffic maneuvers around town and in parking lots.

See BMW 5 Series Sedan Review
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