2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

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 A-Class doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

To help make backing safer, the 3 Series Sedan’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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 and around view monitors.

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 A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the A-Class’ (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. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the A-Class.

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 A-Class’ 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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

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.

Engine

The 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 67 more horsepower (255 vs. 188) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. The M340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. produces 194 more horsepower (382 vs. 188) and 148 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the 330i is faster than the Mercedes A-Class:

3 Series

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

132 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A-Class:

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

A-Class

FWD

220 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

220 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

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

The 3 Series Sedan has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (15.6 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 A-Class.

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 A-Class 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 A-Class:

330i

M340i

A-Class

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.6 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 A-Class are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 3 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the A-Class (225/45R18 vs. 205/55R17). The 3 Series Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (F:225/35R20 & R:255/30R20 vs. 205/55R17).

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 A-Class’ 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 A-Class’ 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the A-Class (112.2 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is .6 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the A-Class.

Chassis

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 A-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The 3 Series Sedan has .2 inches more front legroom, .9 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The 3 Series Sedan has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (13 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 3 Series offers cargo security. The A-Class’ non-lockable remote release defeats 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 A-Class doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 3 Series Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the A-Class. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the 3 Series Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A-Class can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 3 Series Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The A-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Model Availability

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

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

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