BMW 3-Series vs. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - April 2, 2019

Entry-level luxury sedans have evolved from simply offering a few upscale features at an affordable price to being smaller, modestly priced alternatives of full-on luxury vehicles. Mercedes-Benz introduced the A-Class for the 2019 model year, which became the smallest and most affordable way to get into a vehicle with a three-pointed star.

While Mercedes-Benz has a subcompact four-door offering, the cheapest way to get into a sedan from BMW is the compact 3-Series. While the most obvious difference between the A-Class and the 3-Series is size, there are many other differences that may have you choosing one over the other. Which budget-friendly luxury sedan should you buy?

See a side-by-side comparison of the 3-Series & A-Class »

What the A-Class Gets Right

As the smaller vehicle, the A-Class is the more affordable option of the two. The A220 sedan starts at $33,495 (including destination), while the entry-level 330i Sedan has a starting price tag of $41,245.

For a subcompact vehicle, the A-Class has an astonishing set of tech features. The tiny sedan features the automaker's Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system that features two 7-inch touchscreens and artificial intelligence to learn a driver's preferences. More impressingly, owners can use voice commands, like “Hey Mercedes” and “Mercedes,” to control various systems.

While the 3-Series can be fitted with a 12.3-inch screen for the digital gauges and a 10.3-inch touchscreen, and can also be beckoned by any name you decide to give the vehicle, being able to get it at the A-Class' price is staggering.

What the 3-Series Gets Right

BMW has always been the go-to option for consumers that enjoy taking the long way home and the new 3-Series continues the lineage's history of putting performance first. The 3-Series is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower, while the A-Series has an identical engine layout, but is rated to produce 188 hp. When properly equipped, the 3-Series can get to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. The A-Series takes 7.1 seconds to complete the same sprint.

Despite having a more powerful engine, the 3-Series is the more fuel-efficient option. BMW's sedan is rated to get up to 30 mpg combined, according to the EPA. The A-Class has a combined fuel economy rating of 28 mpg.

As the larger vehicle, the 3-Series has more interior space than the A-Class. The 3-Series has more rear head room, front and rear shoulder room, as well as front and rear leg room. Cargo capacity for the 3-Series is rated at 17 cubic feet, while the A-Class can only hold 8.6 cubic feet.

Who Is the A-Class For?

Consumers looking for a subcompact luxury sedan with some of the coolest and latest technology will love the A-Class. Its design, comfortable ride, and well-performing powertrain make the model easy to like. It might be an entry-level Mercedes-Benz, but nothing really feels entry-level about the A-Class.

Our Verdict: BMW 3-Series

Consumers that aren't too restricted by their budget will find the BMW 3-Series to be the more well-rounded option. Its larger interior, more spacious cargo area, and sprightly performance make it the better choice over the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. You get similar technology in the 3-Series, too, so it's not like you're missing out on anything – except extra funds in your bank account.

Take a closer look at the BMW 3-Series »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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