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2020 BMW 3-Series Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 BMW 3-Series Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: 330i vs M340i & xDrive

What 2020 BMW 3-Series Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

For years now, BMW has been synonymous with a mixture of class, power, and utility. The BMW 3-Series, which kicked off its third generation in 2019, has enjoyed a mostly positive repute among car gurus and buyers alike. But with so much competition mounting in the luxury sedan segment, is the 3-Series really going to be able to hold up against other big names?

The 2020 BMW 3-Series is, for the most part, a decent vehicle. Its ride quality is superb thanks to its handling and steering design elements, and both the 4- and 6-cylinder engines put in strong performances. And, of course, the interior looks expensive without losing its user-friendly nature and emphasis on comfort.

However, the 3-Series has some notable limitations. There is a new iDrive system that is extremely difficult to figure out. Also, the vehicle does not support smartphone app integration through Android Auto. You can only sync up your iPhone. Also, the optional Harman Kardon sound system does not deliver sound that well to passengers in the rear seat. There is no longer a manual transmission option either, so you are forced to stick with the automatic. For most drivers, though, that will not be an issue.

This model year, the 3-Series is only offered in two trim levels: the 330i and the M340i. Each of these can be optionally equipped with BMW's all-wheel drive system, which is known as xDrive. We will compare the two standard trim levels but include a little bit about the xDrive with them. And be sure to read through to the end of this trim level comparison review, where we will determine whether the 330i or the M340i is the better buy for the average driver.

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Compare the 2020 BMW 3-Series 330i vs M340i Trim. What is the difference?

The 2020 BMW 3-Series line-up kicks off with the 330i trim level. It is powered by a 2.0-L twin-turbo inline-4 cylinder. This engine pairs the twin-scroll turbocharger with high precision direct injection and and variable valve control for improved performance capabilities. The 330i's engine is pretty powerful, but it is also very efficient, especially since it is paired nicely with an 8-speed automatic transmission with Manual and Sport shift modes. The 330i's engine gets 255 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque, and it only needs about 5.6 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph. The vehicle runs on 18-inch wheels and has all-season tires. Its EPA ratings are good for this class, coming in at 30 mpg combined (with 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway).

The M340i is new for this model year and provides even more power to the 3-Series. It is powered by a beefy 3.0-L twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder engine, which is paired with the 8-speed transmission. It gets 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That amount of power helps get the M340i from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds - an extremely quick time for this segment. It, too, comes with 18-inch wheels but gets performance tires. Fuel efficiency drops, but it is still decent at 25 mpg combined (22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway). For the trade-off of power and speed, this mileage is respectable enough.

Of course, if you get the xDrive variant of either trim level, fuel efficiency numbers will take slight dips, but it still isn't anything too serious. xDrive is highly recommended for those of you who live in places where inclement weather can make driving hazardous.

Now, let's talk about appearances. Quite frankly, inside and out, these vehicles look luxurious. The exterior is sleek and has some nifty aerodynamic designs. On the 330i, the side mirrors are heated and have power folding. The non-metallic body paint options are all set off nicely by shadowline exterior trim and chrome line exterior trim. The M340i ups the ante with an aerodynamic kit that improves the vehicle's handling capabilities. It also gets LED headlights with cornering lights built in and a M Sport rear spoiler.

As nice as they look on the outside, the 2020 BMW 3-Series' trim levels look just as lush on the inside. The cabins are absolutely cavernous for this class, and the seats all feel like they are well-padded for comfort. The 330i has 14-way power-adjustable front seats with memory systems built in for seat positions, side mirror positions, and the automatic parking feature. The rear seats are 40/20/40-split folding. There is an engine start/stop button that is right in plain sight, and the vehicle also has Advanced Vehicle and Key Memory, a handy feature that remembers the most recently-used settings on the audio system, power seats, side mirrors, climate control, and lighting and central locking preferences.

Add to all of that the fact that there is a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a HomeLink universal transceiver, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a locking glovebox, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and you've got one fancy car. And the M340i sweetens the deal with upgraded SensaTec upholstery on the seats, an anthracite headliner, aluminum tetragon interior trim, and M door-sill and footrest finishers.

When it comes to instrumentation and controls, the 330i is already well-equipped. It comes with the iDrive system and an 8.8-inch center screen, as well as a controller and 8 programmable memory buttons. The system can be confusing at first, so there is a learning curve you will have to endure. The 330i also has a standard rear-view camera, tire pressure monitoring system, a leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with multiple controls mounted onto it, dynamic cruise control, defrost on the rear window, and a Sport Line motif on the car's key fob.

Let's talk about which connectivity features these two trim levels have. Starting things off, the 330i comes with BMW Teleservices, Apple CarPlay connectivity, Live Cockpit Plus (which has the iDrive 6.0 built into it), BMW Connected Drive Services, and hands-free Bluetooth connectivity with USB audio connections available. The M430i tacks on the Live Cockpit Professional bundle, which gives you a 12.3-inch instrument cluster paired with a 10.5-inch center display. The iDrive 7.0 system is equipped and comes with voice control functionality, navigation, and Bluetooth. The Connected Package Professional adds to the mix advanced real-time traffic data, BMW's Connected App and concierge services, BMW Connected Drive Services, BMW TeleServices, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay (but, oddly enough, not Android Auto - sorry, Android owners).

Of course, you are going to want to know how well this car pumps out sound from the audio system. You should be pleased with the 330i's standard 10-speaker HiFi system, which has a 7-channel 205-watt amplifier built in. The speakers are smartly distributed throughout the car, with 3 tweeters located in the mirror triangles, 4 mid-range speakers mounted into each door panel, a bass speaker under each front seat, and one mid-range center speaker placed within the instrument panel. And with how quietly this vehicle runs, no one should have trouble hearing music or radio playing. There is also SiriusXM Radio pre-wiring, pre-wiring for a CD player, and HD radio. The M340i comes with the same set-up.

Naturally, you are curious about what kinds of safety and security features are offered on the 2020 BMW 3-Series. The 330i and M430i both offer features like adaptive brake lights, an anti-theft alarm system, BMW Assist eCall with built-in SOS, Active Guard (which bundles lane departure warning, frontal collision warning, and automatic city collision mitigation), and an impact sensor that will prepare the vehicle for a perceived oncoming impact, doing everything from turning on the hazard lights to unlocking the doors. There is also an Active Protection System that detects collisions and will automatically pretension the seat belt and turn on post-crash braking. It also closes the windows and the moonroof.

Okay, so the basics are all pretty nice on both trim levels, but you want to customize a bit, right? That's why it is important to know which available packages you should add on. The Premium Package is great since it gives the car a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, and heated front seats. There is also the Executive Package, which includes parking sensors, a birds-eye and surround views for the parking cameras, adaptive LED headlights, an autonomous self-parking function, and gesture control functions for the iDrive infotainment system.

If you want to really feel safe inside the 3-Series, consider adding the Driving Assistance or Driving Assistance Professional packages. Driving Assistance gives you blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Professional version upgrades you to lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a semi-autonomous steering function, and Traffic Jam Assist.

There are also stand-alone options like 19-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, an adaptive suspension system (which comes highly recommended), ambient lighting for the entire cabin, hands-free trunk release, WiFi hotspot connectivity, a wireless device charger, and a Harman Kardon premium sound system (which also comes highly recommended).

Finally, we need to talk about the warranties, which are the same on both trim levels. BMW offers something called BMW Ultimate Care, a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty package that guarantees you service on regular maintenance items like engine oil, spark plugs, and just getting a vehicle check. There is also a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty for new vehicles made in America and Puerto Rico that includes the 2020 3-Series models, a 12-year rust perforation warranty with unlimited miles, and 4 years of roadside assistance coverage with no cap on mileage.

2020 BMW 3-Series: Which Trim to Choose?

There you have it. The 2020 BMW 3-Series has two strong trim levels to choose from, and it sure is a hard decision to make. Should you stick with the 330i and save some money? Or should you go all-out and nab the all-new M340i?

Here's our verdict: Stick with the 330i. It is the more cost-effective route. Unless you have a budget that can afford the M340i, go with the base trim and tack on several of the available packages and stand-alone options. Aside from being more budget-friendly, the 330i's 4-cylinder engine puts out a dynamic performance that will leave you feeling totally confident in your new ride. It honestly does not even feel like you're driving on a little 4-cylinder. Add the adaptive suspension for an extra powerful handling performance, and go with the xDrive if you need AWD security.

We also suggest adding both the Executive and Premium packages to the 300i since they are not terribly expensive and take the vehicle to another, more luxurious level. And if you can swing it, go for that powerful Harman Kardon premium sound system. It is a 'must' for music lovers who want concert-like sound quality all throughout their vehicle.

Either way, the 2020 BMW 3-Series is a strong performer this model year. If BMW makes a few tweaks to the infotainment system and driver aids, the 2021 version could take the top spot in this segment. But the 2020's 330i is definitely worthy of your hard-earned money.

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2020 BMW Trim Level Guides:

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Previous BMW 3-Series Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 BMW 3-Series Trim Levels
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