2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Ford Fusion

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 3 Series Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Fusion doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan 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 Fusion doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Fusion only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Fusion have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 3 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fusion was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The 3 Series Sedan comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Fusion’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Fusion’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Fusion.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 720-amp battery. The Fusion’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 3 Series Sedan is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 3 Series Sedan’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Fusion’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The 3 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the Fusion:

Horsepower

Torque

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

255 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

382 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Fusion 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

175 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

Fusion SE/SEL 1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

181 HP

185 lbs.-ft.

Fusion 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

240 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

Fusion Sport 2.7 turbo V6

325 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Fusion:

MPG

3 Series Sedan

RWD

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

AWD

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Fusion

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

Sport 2.7 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

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

Regardless of its engine, the 3 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Ford only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Fusion 1.5 ECOBoost.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 3 Series Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Fusion.

The 3 Series Sedan’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Fusion doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 3 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Fusion:

330i

M340i

Fusion

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.9 inches

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Fusion are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Fusion:

3 Series

Fusion

70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 3 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the Fusion (225/45R18 vs. 215/60R16).

The 330i’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Fusion S’ standard 60 series tires. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 225/35R20 front and 255/30R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the Fusion Titanium/Sport’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330i has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Fusion S. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Fusion Titanium/Sport.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 3 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Fusion doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 330i xDrive handles at .89 G’s, while the Fusion Sport AWD pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The 3 Series Sedan is 6.1 inches shorter than the Fusion, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 3 Series offers cargo security. The Fusion’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 3 Series Sedan offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Fusion doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The 3 Series Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Fusion uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 3 Series Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Fusion. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Fusion doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 3 Series Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Fusion’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 3 Series Sedan offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Fusion doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Fusion SEL/Titanium/Sport.

When the 3 Series Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Fusion’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 3 Series Sedan has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Fusion.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Fusion offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 3 Series Sedan has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Fusion doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Fusion (except S)’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

The BMW 3 Series comes in sedan, four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Ford Fusion isn’t available as a four door hatchback or station wagon.

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

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