2019 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon vs. 2019 Mercedes E-Class Wagon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 3 Series Sports Wagon has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 3 Series Sports Wagon and the E-Class Wagon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is safer than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon:

 

3 Series

E-Class

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

150

180

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

35%

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

161 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is safer than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon:

 

3 Series

E-Class

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Hip Force

184 lbs.

223 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

291

326

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

836 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The 3 Series Sports Wagon’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the E-Class Wagon’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sports Wagon for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the E-Class Wagon.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sports Wagon has a standard 210-amp alternator. The E-Class Wagon’s 180-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 3 Series Sports Wagon has a standard 900-amp battery. The E-Class Wagon’s 850-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 330i Sports Wagon gets better fuel mileage than the E 450 4MATIC Wagon (23 city/33 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sports Wagon’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping

The 3 Series Sports Wagon stops much shorter than the E-Class Wagon:

 

3 Series

E-Class

 

70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The 330i Sports Wagon handles at .86 G’s, while the E 450 4MATIC Wagon pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sports Wagon’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the E-Class Wagon’s (38.4 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 pounds less than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon.

The 3 Series Sports Wagon is 11.4 inches shorter than the E-Class Wagon, making the 3 Series Sports Wagon easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The 3 Series Sports Wagon has 2.9 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more front legroom than the E-Class Wagon.

Cargo Capacity

The 3 Series Sports Wagon’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The E-Class Wagon’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 3 Series Sports Wagon offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the 3 Series Sports Wagon and the E-Class Wagon offer optional heated front seats. The 3 Series Sports Wagon also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the E-Class Wagon.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 3 Series Sports Wagon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 3 Series Sports Wagon will cost $1855 to $2255 less than the E-Class Wagon over a five-year period.

The 3 Series Sports Wagon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 3 Series Sports Wagon will retain 54.53% to 55.45% of its original price after five years, while the E-Class Wagon only retains 46.92%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sports Wagon is less expensive to operate than the E-Class Wagon because it costs $72 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 3 Series Sports Wagon than the E-Class Wagon, including $7 less for a water pump, $230 less for a muffler, $212 less for a starter, $21 less for fuel injection, $208 less for a fuel pump and $303 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon will be $21077 to $21869 less than for the Mercedes E-Class Wagon.

Recommendations

The BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

3 Series

E-Class

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

n/a

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 23 years. The E-Class has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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