2020 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes E-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes E-Class Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The rear seatbelts optional on the E-Class Sedan inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the E-Class Sedan and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 10 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 850-amp battery. The 3 Series Sedan’s 720-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine

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The E 450 4MATIC Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 107 more horsepower (362 vs. 255) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 295) than the 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The E-Class Sedan 300’s standard fuel tank has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan (17.4 vs. 15.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 5.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan (21.1 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes E-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the 3 Series Sedan.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the E-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Sedan:

E-Class Sedan

E 450 4MATIC Sedan

330i

M340i

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.2 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.2 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

The E-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the 3 Series Sedan:

E-Class Sedan

3 Series Sedan

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

129 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the E-Class Sedan has larger standard tires than the 3 Series Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/45R18). The E-Class Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. F:225/35R20 & R:255/30R20).

Suspension and Handling

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The E-Class Sedan has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Sedan’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the 3 Series Sedan (115.7 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC handles at .92 G’s, while the 330i xDrive pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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The E-Class Sedan has 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the 3 Series Sedan.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the 3 Series Sedan, the E-Class Sedan has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The E-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Sedan to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the E-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the E-Class Sedan keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/17

The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the BMW 3 Series isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/17

The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 2 years. The 3 Series Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the BMW 3 Series by 740 units during the 2019 model year.

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