2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Honda Accord

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 Accord 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 Accord doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 3 Series Sedan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Accord doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Accord 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 Accord 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 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 Accord is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

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 Accord’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 Accord’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. Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Accord.

Reliability

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 Accord’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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 7 places higher in reliability than Honda.

Engine

The 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 63 more horsepower (255 vs. 192) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 192) than the Accord’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. The 330i’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (255 vs. 252) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 273) than the Accord’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. The M340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. produces 130 more horsepower (382 vs. 252) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 273) than the Accord’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the 330i is faster than the Honda Accord (automatics tested):

3 Series

Accord 1.5T

Accord 2.0T

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

7.3 sec

5.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

19.1 sec

13.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

8 sec

6.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

4 sec

3.4 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.9 sec

5.2 sec

4.4 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.7 sec

14.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

91 MPH

102 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

121 MPH

126 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 3 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Accord doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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 Accord 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 Accord:

330i

M340i

Accord

Accord 2.0T/Sport/Touring

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

11.5 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.1 inches

11.1 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 Accord are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops shorter than the Accord:

3 Series

Accord

70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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 Accord’s standard 50 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 Accord Sport/Touring’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330i has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Accord. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Accord Sport/Touring.

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 Accord doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.5% to 48.5%) than the Accord’s (58.9% to 41.1%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 330i xDrive handles at .89 G’s, while the Accord Sport pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Accord’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s turning circle is .2 feet tighter than the Accord Sport Manual/2.0T’s (39.2 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

Chassis

The 3 Series Sedan is 6.5 inches shorter than the Accord, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 3 Series Sedan’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Accord’s useful trunk space.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Accord LX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

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 Accord doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The 3 Series Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Accord 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 Accord. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the Accord have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 3 Series Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Accord prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Accord’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The 3 Series Sedan’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Accord’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Accord’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

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 Accord doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Accord Sport 2.0T/EX/EX-L/Touring.

The 3 Series Sedan has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Accord offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

On extremely cold winter days, the 3 Series Sedan’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Accord doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Accord 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 Accord 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 Accord doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

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

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