Are you in the market for a reliable and contemporary luxury sedan or wagon? If so, then look no further than the 2019 BMW 3-Series. The 3-Series has been around for decades and has obviously withstood the test of time. Its precision handling, supple amount of power, and choice of fuel-efficient engines make it hard to find any major flaws with this vehicle. Honestly, the only critique we have for any of the trim levels is that they all do not have a lot of small item storage space. And, really, that is a minor nit-pick.
Now, it is important to pay attention to the different trim levels. The sedan is available as the 330i, the 330i xDrive (which is just BMW's fancy way of saying that the vehicle has an all-wheel drive system), the M340i, and the M340i xDrive. There are also a wagon and the Gran Turismo available, but, seeing as how the 3-Series sedans are what really sell, this review will place emphasis on those models.
That being said, with four solid options available, figuring out which trim level is the best one for you can take some time. For those of you who are not interested in having a performance vehicle, one of the 330i models should do just fine. But what if the athletic M340i calls to you? Should you get the standard rear-wheel or optional all-wheel drive?
Read on through to the end of this comparison review, and, by the time you get there, you should have a better notion of which 2019 BMW 3-Series trim level - if any - is the right one for you. If none of them are to your liking, there are certainly other competitors out there, but many of them are going to be even more expensive.
Compare the 2019 BMW 3-Series 330i vs 330i xDrive - What is the difference?
First up are the two 330i variants. Of course, the biggest difference between them is that the 330i is front-wheel drive and the 330i xDrive is all-wheel drive. The base 330i trim level has a starting MSRP of $40,250 while the 330i xDrive prices starting at $2,000 above that. The 330i is powered by a standard 2.0-L twin-turbo inline 4-cylinder engine, which is able to generate 255 hp. The 330i is able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds while the 330i xDrive takes even less time, clocking in at 5.3 seconds. Other mechanical features on the 330i include electronic throttle control, an auto start-stop function for the engine, knock control for the direct injection system, engine cooling that is electronically controlled, brake energy regeneration, an 8-speed automatic transmission (with Manual and Sport modes and paddle shifters that are mounted onto the steering wheel), and driving dynamics control. COMFORT, ECO PRO, SPORT, and SPORT+ modes all come on the driving dynamics control.
The 330i and 330i xDrive also share a number of features related to braking, handling, and ride quality. They are both given dynamic stability control, which includes a start-off assistant, brake fade compensation, and brake standby features. The chassis has extra lightweight components, and there is a high precision steering column and tailored axle kinematics. Rear damper technology, a double-pivot suspension system with stiff spring struts and an anti-roll bar for the front, cast-aluminum upper transverse arms for the five-link rear suspension, twin-tube gas pressure shock absorbers, enhanced Servotronic power steering assist, and high performance brakes all come standard on both trim level variants. Of course, the one real difference here is the all-wheel drive system that comes standard on the 330i xDrive.
The exteriors of the 330i and 330i xDrive look pretty similar. Both come with your choice between ten different body paint options. All of the paint colors are non-metallic, and the outer trim is done in shadowline. LED headlights come standard, as do heated, power-folding side mirrors and 18-inch V-spoke light alloy wheels equipped with all-season tires.
The interior on both trim level variants gives you 14-way power adjustable front seats that allow you to use electric seat adjustment for the height, seat position, backrest tilt, and seat base tilt. Both front seats are given memory functions, and there is a feature that allows for automatic parking of the vehicle. Standard SensaTec upholstery adorns the seats, and there is an anthracite headliner. The cabin has gorgeous fine-wood oak grey/brown high gloss trim, and the through-load rear seats are 40/20/40 split-folding. Oh, and floormats come standard.
The audio system that you get in both trim level variants is pretty straightforward and somewhat easier to use than many of its competitors. There is an anti-theft AM/FM radio, pre-wiring for a CD player and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, and a 10-speaker HiFi sound system with a 205-watt 7-channel amplifier.
You also get the same basic instrumentation set-up. Standard features here include a defrost for the rear windshield, a rear view camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, dynamic cruise control, BMW TeleServices, BMW ConnectedDrive Services, Bluetooth with audio streaming and USB audio connectivity, an 8.8-inch touchscreen display for the iDrive system, a key fob, and a multifunction 3-spoke sport steering wheel with a number of controls mounted onto it for the driver's convenience (and safety).
Of course, there are also a bunch of comfort and convenience features. This is, after all, a luxury vehicle. These features include a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a locking glove box, a center arm rest wedged between the front seats, power windows with one-touch up/down for the front windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and tri-zone automatic climate control with an automatic air recirculation feature.
As far as safety and security features go, there are quite a few to be found on the 330i and 330i xDrive. Both models share adaptive brake lights, an anti-locking brake system, coded driveaway protection, LED daytime running lights that are programmable, an anti-theft alarm system, BMW Assist eCall, and Active Guard (which bundles lane departure warning and frontal collision warning with automatic city collision mitigation). Additionally, there is an impact sensor, which disconnects the alternator, starter, and fuel pump from the battery in the event of a crash. An Active Protection System detects collisions before they happen and prepares the cabin by closing the moonroof and windows and automatically pretensioning the seat belts. This comes with a Fatigue and Focus feature that alerts the driver to when the vehicle detects that they might be drowsy or distracted.
Compare the 2019 3-Series M340i vs M340i xDrive Trims. What is the difference?
With a starting MSRP of $54,000, the M340i represents a pretty significant leap in the line-up. This sport-oriented version offers, first and foremost, a more powerful 3.0-L M Performance twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder engine that has no problem generating 382 hp. It is a high-precision direct injection engine. You also get the M Sport differential and a sport version of the 8-speed automatic transmission. Also, you get the benefit of having M Sport brakes, variable sport steering, and the M Sport suspension. The big difference between these models is again pretty obvious: One just happens to be all-wheel drive.
Both of these trim level variants ride atop special 18-inch M double-spoke wheels with standard performance tires. There is also an aerodynamic kit and a M rear spoiler to help distinguish this trim on the outside. Also, you can only order the M340i and M340i xDrive in your choice of one of eight body paint colors, all of which are non-metallic.
A few upgrades are given to this trim's interior as well, including aluminum tetragon trim. M door sill finishers and a M foot rest can also be found inside of both cabins. The audio system is basically the same as what you get on the 330i and 330i xDrive, but you will see some changes to the instrumentation features. For example, Apple CarPlay gives you smartphone app connectivity, and there is a specially-crafted M sport steering wheel with two M mode buttons that you can configure. There is also a live cockpit that gives you a 12.3-inch instrumentation screen and a 10.25-inch central information display. The iDrive 0 system has voice recognition and built-in navigation. You also get a Connected Package Professional, which has real-time traffic data, concierge services, remote door unlock, and an intelligent personal assistant.
With regard to the vehicle's comfort and convenience features, you also get a lot more. There is an advanced automatic climate control system, advanced vehicle and key memory, a 2-way power moonroof, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. There is also a feature called Comfort Access keyless entry, and this allows you to use a multi-function remote to control even the hands-free trunk lid.
There is also no doubt to be had that BMW steps it up in terms of safety and security on the M340i and M340i xDrive. You get the additions of adaptive brake lights, and there is a front and rear head protection system. Also, an acoustic safety belt warning will sound when an occupant needs to buckle up.
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Which One Should You Choose?
Given that the M340i can get from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and has a ton of extra features, a lot of drivers will be attracted to it. And, quite honestly, this is the better choice. The 330i models are decent enough, and they will satisfy many drivers. However, if you are going to be spending big bucks on a luxury sedan, you are going to want a vehicle that is jam-packed with standard features.
Since the M340i does such a fantastic job of mixing power and convenience, this is the best overall deal. Most drivers should be fine sticking with the rear-wheel drive version, but the all-wheel drive variant is a better bet for those who live and drive in areas where inclement weather is consistently creating road hazards.
• Compare the 2018 BMW 3-Series Trim Levels