The BMW 3 Series is a legend of the automotive industry, a model that has served as a benchmark for generations.
Indeed, the 2020 BMW 3 Series is just the latest generation in a long line of BMW compact luxury sedans that have given fits to their direct competitors while inspiring a range of American and Japanese rivals over the years.
Many have come close to duplicating the 3 Series’ unique performance and drivability – the former Infiniti G35 and Cadillac CTS did well against the BMW 3 Series of that era – but it always felt like something was missing. Over the last few years, however, it’s the BMW 3 Series that was missing something for many potential buyers and fans of the car. See the 3 Series has always been about driving. The last two generations have kept up with the model’s DNA, but the cars also became bigger, heavier, more comfortable…
For many, that was a problem. If they wanted a comfortable car, they would get a Mercedes-Benz. BMW was about the drive. Of course, 3 Series sales didn’t suffer too much and the car remains as popular as ever, but it’s reputation among purists suffered a bit. Many consider the E46 generation to be the last true BMW 3 Series. These people should take a look at the new 3 because BMW has done a great job in keeping the improved comfort and refinement of the most recent generations while also rekindling the performance that made the 3 Series so famous and exciting to a certain extent.
Powering the base 2020 BMW 330i is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque while the all-powerful BMW M340i gets a mighty twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six with 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque which reaches 100 km/h in a little over 4.0 seconds. It also sounds great.
On the other hand, the most impressive engine in the 2020 BMW 3 Series is the 330i. More balanced and usable, it has plenty of power with low fuel consumption and a smooth power delivery that just feels right all the time.
Other notable improvements to the 2020 BMW 3 Series include the new BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Using the voice command “Hey, BMW”, the driver is connected to the car and can use simple voice instructions such as “I’m hot” to adjust the climate controls, for example.
This plus more active safety, larger interior dimensions, and a range of other features such as Gesture Control (you can navigate the infotainment system using hand gestures such as rotating your finger to adjust audio volume) translate into the most advanced BMW 3 Series ever. Given that the BMW’s main rivals that include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 are behind in their model generations, the 3 Series is by far the techy-est compact luxury sedan available right now. But, should you buy one? Let’s take a closer look.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 BMW 3 Series
1) We’ll get to performance, but let’s talk about the 3 Series’ interior. More luxurious than ever, it is a far cry from the boring, faded interiors of BMWs of the past. The digital instrument cluster stands out first, but you can see that everything is better and more refined. It’s also more luxurious than the C-Class and A4 which are older in design.
2) Now the engine. The 2.0-liter turbo feels a lot faster than its specs suggest. It’s also very efficient which isn’t new at BMW, but still impressive. It’s more than enough power, but it’s the smoothness of the engine that stands out. It’s linear and responds quickly without being jerky or hesitant.
3) The added space is nice and makes the 3 Series one of the most versatile compact luxury sedans available today. Great for owners with an active lifestyle.
4) The BMW M340i is a beast. Faster than many much more expensive sports cars, it also sounds very agressive.
5) The technology found inside the BMW 3 Series is state-of-the-art. Because the car’s main rivals are older and yet to be redesigned, the 3 Series just feels a lot more modern than the C-Class or the Audi A4.
6) We’ve actually driven the new Audi A4 recently which will be arriving later this year. Even if Audi improved their compact luxury sedan, it’s still not as modern as the BMW 3 Series.
Why You Should Not Buy a 2020 BMW 3 Series
1) If you want a true driver’s car, the BMW 3 Series isn’t quite back yet. The Alfa Romeo Giulia still feels more connected and dialed-in. We probably wouldn’t recommend an Alfa over a 3 Series unless the only thing that matters is driving performance. The Genesis G70 is also very close.
2) The 3 Series is more refined, but it’s not the most comfortable car in the segment. We’d put the C-Class, the Volvo S60 and the Genesis G70 ahead of the new 3 Series.
3) Some of that new technology may annoy some owners. If you tend to move your hands a lot around when talking to a passenger, you’ll be constantly adjusting your infotainment system. The personal assistant doesn’t understand you half of the time. It’s all great on paper, but in practice you will probably avoid most of them.
The 2020 BMW 3 Series is more refined and feels a lot more modern than many of its competitors. It also feels sharper than the previous 3 Series which means that some purists may come back to the brand although it’s still not as dialed-in as the E46. Overall, the improvements have made the 2020 BMW 3 Series a better car while sticking to the vehicle’s DNA. We will have to wait another year at least to see new Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 generations which means that right now, if you want the latest thing with quality to go with it, the BMW 3 Series is a worthy option.