2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Infiniti Q50

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Q50 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Q50 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Q50 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Q50’s (12 vs. 7 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. Infiniti doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Q50.

There are over 62 percent more BMW dealers than there are Infiniti dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

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 Q50’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 Infiniti vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Infiniti is ranked 11th.

Engine

The 3 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the Q50:

Horsepower

Torque

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

255 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

382 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Q50 2.0t 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

208 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Q50 3.0t 3.0 turbo V6

300 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Q50 Red Sport 400 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Q50:

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

Q50

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

3.0t 3.0 turbo V6

20 city/29 hwy

Red Sport 400 3.0 turbo V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

3.0t 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/27 hwy

Red Sport 400 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/26 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Q50 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.) Infiniti only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Q50 2.0t.

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 seven-speed automatic is available for the Q50.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 3 Series Sedan’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Q50:

3 Series

Q50

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.1 inches

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 Q50’s standard 55 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 Q50 Red Sport 400’s 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330i has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Q50. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Q50 Sport/Red Sport 400 AWD.

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. Run-flat tires aren’t available on some tire packages on the Q50.

Suspension and Handling

The 3 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Q50’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Q50.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.5% to 48.5%) than the Q50’s (53.8% to 46.2%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 330i xDrive handles at .89 G’s, while the Q50 Red Sport 400 pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The 3 Series Sedan is 3.9 inches shorter than the Q50, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the BMW 3 Series Sedan amounts to more than styling. The 3 Series Sedan has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is lower than the Q50 (.26 to .29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 3 Series Sedan get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the 3 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Q50 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The 3 Series Sedan has .1 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear legroom than the Q50.

Cargo Capacity

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Q50 Pure doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer a power trunk.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the Q50 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 Q50 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Q50’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

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 Q50 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW 3 Series comes in sedan, four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Infiniti Q50 isn’t available as a four door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Infiniti Q50 by 28% during 2018.

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

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