Emphasizing sportiness above all. The 2020 BMW 3-Series gets a new trim for the model year that highlights just how sporty it is. The 3-Series has always been the benchmark for the compact luxury segment, and the new trim continues that trend by bringing more power to the table.
New for 2020 is the M340i model. Power comes from a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that produces 382 horsepower. With all-wheel drive, the M340i xDrive can get to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Handling for the trim is sharp thanks to a performance-tuned chassis and suspension.
Even the standard 330i packs a punch. Its 2.0-liter turbo-four is rated at 255 hp. That's a decent figure for the segment, and the trim still shines thanks to responsive handling, direct steering feel, and a taut ride.
What lets the 3-Series down a bit is the lack of a manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is the only way to go. While the automatic is a smooth, fantastic unit, other competitors continue to offer a manual. It doesn’t make sense for the “Ultimate Driving Machine” to not have a manual gearbox.
More safety comes standard. BMW has bolstered the 3-Series’ standard safety features for the new year. It comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning. It’s a decent list of standard safety features that make the base 330i trim even more attractive.
The 3-Series has all sorts of high-tech safety features, including active parallel and perpendicular park assist, a surround-view camera with 3D imaging, BMW’s Traffic Jam Assist that can handle the majority of driving in traffic, and a head-up display.
In IIHS testing, the 3-Series was named a Top Safety Pick Plus.
Better value thanks to more features. The 3-Series comes with more features as standard for the new model year. Navigation and Apple CarPlay are now, mercifully, included. For Android users, smartphone compatibility is coming in the middle of 2020. Other notable standard features include an 8.8-inch infotainment display, BMW’s iDrive 6.0 system, and 10 audio speakers.
Befitting the luxury segment, the 3-Series comes with a bunch of standard convenience features. Things like 14-way power-adjustable front seats, wood or aluminum trim, three-zone climate control, a sunroof, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are all standard.
Spacious and upscale. Fans of the 3-Series will notice that the 2020 model is larger than ever before. The larger blueprint results in more head room and leg room than previous models, and one of the more spacious cabins for the class. A cramped cabin was one of its previous downsides, but that’s no longer the case.
Material quality and fit and finish are excellent, too. Very few things feel cheap on the inside, and the sedan has a handsome design. While not as opulent as some interiors, the 3-Series still manages to fit into the luxury class.
Final thoughts. Still the benchmark for the segment, the 2020 BMW 3-Series manages to be one of the better all-around choices in the class. It’s got the performance, features, and cabin to be the complete package. Expect to pay a pretty penny for this kind of versatility, though.
We’re sad to see that BMW continues to only offer the 3-Series with an automatic transmission. Other automakers have a manual gearbox for luxury sedans, why doesn’t BMW? Also, other competitors have more luxurious cabins. It’s not exactly a strike against the 3-Series, it’s just that others do luxury better.
When it comes to the competition, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a more stylish cabin and roughly the same cutting-edge features. The C-Class isn’t as fun to drive, though. Then there’s the Genesis G70. It’s more enjoyable to drive, has a manual transmission option, and represents excellent value. But the G70 isn’t as upscale as the BMW and has a tighter cabin.
Check prices for the 2020 BMW 3-Series »