New 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan
BMW 3 Series Sedan
Long the benchmark for compact-luxury sedans, the 2020 BMW 3 Series gets the power bump it deserves with the new, 6-cylinder M340i models.
2020 BMW 3 Series Pricing
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2020 BMW 3 Series KBB Expert Review
#3 in Best Small Luxury Cars of 2020
Long considered the benchmark for compact-luxury sports sedans, the BMW 3 Series now has more competition than ever. Foes range from longtime German rivals the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 to newcomers like the Genesis G70 and Alfa Romeo Giulia. Still, the 3 Series remains a top seller, and for good reason: When corporate climbers want to display their success, a BMW badge is one of the most prominent markers.
Totally revamped last year, this 7th-generation 3 Series also brings the latest technology and safety features. Performance ranges from good to great. The base 4-cylinder 330i, introduced last year, will satisfy buyers prioritizing the badge, while the new-for-2020 M340i that packs a 382-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder will attract the BMW faithful truly in it for the “Ultimate Driving Machine” mission of the 3 Series.
Traction-enhancing all-wheel drive is available on all models in lieu of the standard rear-wheel drive. But if you’re seeking a manual transmission or Android Auto support, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
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You'll Like This Car If...
- Long considered the benchmark of compact-luxury sedans
- Enviable badge & performance reputation
- New M340i adds 6-cylinder power to lineup
- Stylish-yet-enduring design
You May Not Like This Car If...
- More expensive than almost every rival
- No manual transmission available
- Lacks Android Auto integration
What's New for 2020
- All-new, 6-cylinder BMW M340i joins lineup
- Apple CarPlay and navigation become standard
- 3 Series GT liftback based on previous generation discontinued
The standard 2020 BMW 330i sedan is a perfectly acceptable entry-level luxury car in terms of driving and performance. Its 255-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine allows it to do the benchmark 0-60 mph in as little as 5.3 seconds. That is fast, and its taut yet supple ride and handling will suit most buyers. For occasions when you want to extract the sportiest feel, there are adjustable settings to change the car’s characteristics.
Yet the 330i lacks a certain edge compared to rivals like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Genesis G70, which offer manual transmissions for those seeking the most engagement. If you simply want a quick, relatively nimble and posh compact-luxury sedan that speaks to your rising status, the new BMW 330i fits the bill.
If you’re all about the “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra, however, the high-powered 340i feels like a return to form for the 3 Series. If the terms” E36” and “E46” mean anything to you, head directly to the new BMW M340i on the showroom floor. With a proper inline-6 under the hood and performance-minded tuning to the chassis and suspension, the M340i is a legitimate heir to those past 6-cylinder 3 Series models that are the legends of Internet forums and YouTube videos.
We had the chance to flog an M340i on a track at BMW’s performance center outside Palm Springs, and can assert it’s the real deal. It hits 60 mph in as little as 4.1 seconds, and its tenacious grip allows it to scream around the tarmac. Most rewarding is simply the sum of its parts.
All models of the new BMW 3 Series use an 8-speed automatic transmission that works smoothly, quickly and exactly as intended. This is the part where some reviews would lament the absence of three pedals in the new 3 Series, and while we also love a good manual, the reality is so few new-car buyers do that they simply weren’t making financial sense for BMW. We can hold out hope, though: A new BMW M3 is around the corner.
M340i PERFORMANCE MODEL
If you’re a fan of past 3 Series with BMW’s inline 6-cylinder engine and its effortless, balanced performance, this is the model to get. With 382 horsepower, it also packs the most for a 3 Series outside an M3.
DRIVING ASSISTANT PROFESSIONAL PACKAGE
It’s a mouthful, but this recommendable package bundles features like steering/lane-control assist and traffic-jam assist. Combined, this semi-autonomous driving system takes some of the stress out of congested commutes.
The 2020 BMW 3 Series’ 5-passenger interior is clean and elegant, but hardly revolutionary. Some might find it a little too clinical and sterile. But if you’ve ever owned a BMW, you already know this and likely prefer it this way. Minimal as it may be, the 3 Series’ material and build quality are worthy of its luxury badge.
Soft-touch surfaces abound, as do intelligent touches like physical knobs and switches where needed. A large 8.8-inch touch screen linked to BMW’s iDrive controller handles the rest of the in-car functions and features.
Seating is firm and supportive and we especially like the sport seats in the M Sport version. Thanks to its elongated body, the 3 Series finally has a back seat fit for adults. Trunk size has increased to 17 cubic feet and can be expanded via the 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat.
The BMW 3 Series was just reborn last year, when it entered its seventh generation, but its shape is not a drastic departure from previous versions. Everything is a little larger than prior generations, but the proportions work well, and we are thankful that the 3 Series’ grille isn’t ostentatious.
The new, higher-power and more performance-oriented 2020 BMW 340i sits 0.4 inches lower than the 330i. The front fascia has larger side intakes, while the rear sports a beefier valance and larger exhaust housings. The new BMW 3 Series comes with 18-inch wheels, with 19s optional.
Notable Standard Equipment
In its least-expensive version as a rear-drive 330i, the 2020 3 Series luxury sedan comes in Sport Line form and includes 14-way power-adjustable front seats, 3-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power moonroof, universal garage remote, and BMW’s SensaTec faux leather upholstery.
Safety features include automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning. The new 3 Series’ standard infotainment bundles an 8.8-inch display with navigation and 205-watt/10-speaker audio system with Apple CarPlay integration.
As for Android Auto, you’re out of luck. BMW is among the few automakers that doesn’t support it.
Notable Optional Equipment
All-wheel drive can be had on any 3 Series by choosing the xDrive option. Choosing the Luxury line adds chrome flourishes and ambient lighting, while the M Sport line grants a sport suspension, variable sport steering, LED fog lights and other performance-oriented bits and aesthetics. As is the case with BMW, many more options are available bundled in packages or as stand-alone options. Among them are genuine leather upholstery, wood or aluminum interior accents, and an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system.
We would recommend getting the Convenience package, which costs $2,350 extra or is bundled into the M Sport line. It includes blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, hands-free power trunk operation and keyless entry, and lumbar support. For $1,700 more, you can add the Active Driving Assistant with semi-autonomous driving ability. Other goodies include heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, a head-up display and a fully digital dashboard. We’d skip the Gesture Control function for the audio system; it has proven meh in our testing.
Under the Hood
For 2020, the 3 Series now has a choice of two engines. The 330i models use a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower and an ample 295 lb-ft of torque. This will be more than adequate for the majority of buyers simply seeking a well-driving, luxury-badged compact-performance sedan. At up to 36 mpg, this 330i is also very efficient.
If you’re the kind of person who craves an adrenaline rush with your acceleration, get the 340i. This more powerful 3 Series debuts for 2020 with a turbocharged inline-6 cylinder putting out 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. All new 3 Series models use an 8-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard, and all-wheel drive (AWD), which BMW calls xDrive, is optional.
All models have an engine start/stop system that cuts power at idle. If you don’t like the engine turning off at stoplights, you can disable the system with the press of a button.
BMW also plans to introduce a gas-electric hybrid version of the 3 Series called the 330e, and we suspect a high-performance next-gen M3 is also around the corner.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (330i, 330i xDrive)
255 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,550-4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/36 mpg (RWD), 25/34 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (M340i, M340i xDrive)
382 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (RWD), 22/30 mpg (AWD)
A new BMW 3 Series sedan has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $41,000. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 to the price tag. The new M340i with its 6-cylinder engine starts at $54,000. These prices only go north. If you want an exterior color other than white or black, for example, it costs extra. A loaded 3 Series can reach over $60,000.
At its starting price, the 2020 3 Series is more expensive than every rival except the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is a few hundred more. The Lexus IS, Audi A4, Alfa Romeo Giulia and even the all-electric Tesla Model 3 begin under $40,000. Bargains in this segment include the highly recommendable Genesis G70 at less than $35,000, the Acura TLX at $33,000, and the Volvo S60 at under $36,000.
Before you buy your new luxury sedan, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The 3 Series’ resale value is expected to be about average in this segment, and still lag that of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
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|#1||2020 BMW 3 Series||4.9 / 5|
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