Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2010 BMW 3 Series VS 2010 Subaru Impreza Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2010 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2010 Subaru Impreza

Safety Comparison

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When descending a steep, off-road slope, the 3 Series Sedan AWD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The 3 Series Sedan offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

Compared to metal, the 3 Series Sedan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Impreza WRX has a metal gas tank.

The 3 Series Sedan offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Impreza WRX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 38.5 MPH side impact tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Impreza WRX:

3 Series Sedan

Impreza WRX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Criteria

240

312

Thoracic Trauma

45

72

Pelvis Deceleration

39 G’s

71 G’s

More stars indicate a better chance of avoiding serious injuries. Lower numbers indicate better actual numeric test results.

Warranty Comparison

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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 Impreza WRX’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 Impreza WRX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Impreza WRX.

Reliability Comparison

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The camshafts in the 3 Series Sedan’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Impreza WRX’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the Impreza WRX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 180 amp alternator. The Impreza WRX’s 110 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 3 Series Sedan is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 3 Series Sedan’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Impreza WRX’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 15th in initial quality. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 27th.

Engine Comparison

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The 335i Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 290) than the Impreza WRX STI’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 181 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 244) than the Impreza WRX’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. The 3 Series Sedan’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 135 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 290) than the Impreza WRX STI’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the 335i Sedan is faster than the Impreza WRX STI (manual transmissions tested):

3 Series Sedan

Impreza WRX

Zero to 60 MPH

4.9 sec

5.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12.1 sec

12.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105 MPH

102 MPH

Top Speed

148 MPH

145 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 3 Series Sedan’s engines produce their peak torque and horsepower at lower RPM’s than the Impreza WRX:

Horsepower

Torque

328i Sedan 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

6500 RPM

2750 RPM

335i Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

5800 RPM

1400 RPM

Impreza WRX 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

6000 RPM

4000 RPM

Impreza WRX STI 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

6000 RPM

4000 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the BMW 3 Series Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Impreza WRX requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the 3 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Impreza WRX:

328i Sedan

335

Impreza WRX

Impreza WRX STI

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.7 inches

11.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13.2 inches

11.3 inches

12.6 inches

The 328i Sedan’s standard brakes have 15% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Impreza WRX (464 vs. 405 square inches), so the 3 Series Sedan has more braking power available.

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 standard on the Impreza WRX are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Impreza WRX:

3 Series Sedan

Impreza WRX

80 to 0 MPH

208 feet

227 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 255/35R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Impreza WRX STI’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available 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 Impreza WRX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the Impreza WRX (108.7 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the Impreza WRX’s (57.5% to 42.5%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 335i Sedan handles at .95 G’s, while the Impreza WRX Sedan pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 335d Sedan goes through Road & Track’s slalom 3.5 MPH faster than the Impreza WRX Sedan (70.5 vs. 67 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

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The design of the BMW 3 Series Sedan amounts to more than styling. The 3 Series Sedan offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .29 to .32 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the Impreza WRX (.32 to .36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 3 Series Sedan get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Road & Track while cruising at 50 MPH, the interior of the 335d Sedan is quieter than the Impreza WRX Sedan (62 vs. 67 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Impreza WRX.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the Impreza WRX Sedan (12 vs. 11.3 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 3 Series Sedan’s trunk lid uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Impreza WRX’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge (except wagon).

Ergonomics Comparison

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The engine computer on the 3 Series Sedan automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Impreza WRX’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

When two different drivers share the 3 Series Sedan, the optional 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 Impreza WRX doesn’t offer a memory system.

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the Impreza WRX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 3 Series Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Impreza WRX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Impreza WRX’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

If the windows are left down on the 3 Series Sedan the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Impreza WRX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Impreza WRX’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 3 Series Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 3 Series Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The 3 Series Sedan has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 3 Series Sedan offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sun shade is optional in the 3 Series Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer a rear sun shade.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Impreza WRX STI doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Impreza WRX’s standard power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

When the 3 Series Sedan with available tilt-down mirrors 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 Impreza WRX’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 3 Series Sedan offers optional 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 Impreza WRX has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. The Impreza WRX STI doesn’t offer heated seats.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 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. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Impreza WRX 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 Impreza WRX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 3 Series Sedan offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The 3 Series Sedan’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service available in a limited number of metro areas.) The Impreza WRX’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

With optional voice command, the 3 Series Sedan offers the driver hands free control of the radio, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Impreza WRX doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the 3 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 3 Series Sedan will cost $235 to $708 less than the Impreza WRX over a five-year period.

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