2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Toyota Camry

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 Camry doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Camry 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Camry’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 Camry’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Camry (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 720-amp battery. The Camry’s 600-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 Camry’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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

Horsepower

Torque

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

255 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

382 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Camry 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

203 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

Camry XSE 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

206 HP

186 lbs.-ft.

Camry XSE/XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

301 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the 330i is faster than the Toyota Camry 4-cyl.:

3 Series

Camry

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8.6 sec

13.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

20.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

8.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

4.3 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.9 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

90 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

133 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

3 Series Sedan

RWD

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

AWD

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

Camry

FWD

XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/33 hwy

XSE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Camry 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 Camry doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The 3 Series Sedan has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Camry L’s standard fuel tank (15.6 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Camry 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 Camry:

330i

M340i

Camry

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.06 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 Camry are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Camry:

3 Series

Camry

70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 3 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the Camry (225/45R18 vs. 205/65R16).

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 Camry L’s standard 65 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 Camry XSE’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 Camry L. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Camry XSE.

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 Camry doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Camry’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 3 Series Sedan has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Camry doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.5% to 48.5%) than the Camry’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

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

Chassis

The 3 Series Sedan is 6.4 inches shorter than the Camry L/LE/XLE, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Camry doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

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 Camry’s useful trunk space.

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

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 3 Series offers cargo security. The Camry’s 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 Camry doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the 3 Series Sedan, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Camry doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 Camry’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Camry doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Camry and aren’t offered on the Camry L.

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 Camry’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Camry 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 Camry doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Camry and isn’t available on the Camry L.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Camry L doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

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

Model Availability

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

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

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