Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2012 BMW 3 Series VS 2012 Nissan Altima Near Scottsdale, AZ

Responsive image

2012 BMW 3 Series

Responsive image
VS

2012 Nissan Altima

Safety Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The Altima Sedan doesn't offer a collision warning system.

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

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Altima Sedan only offers a rear monitor.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver's blind spots.

The 3 Series Sedan offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Altima Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

The 3 Series Sedan comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Altima Sedan’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 3 Series Sedan comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Altima Sedan.

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Altima Sedan’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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Altima Sedan.

Reliability Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170 amp alternator. The Altima Sedan’s standard 110 amp alternator and largest (V6) 130 amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 13th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 21st in reliability. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 25th.

Engine Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

The 328i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 65 more horsepower (240 vs. 175) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 180) than the Altima Sedan 2.5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The 328i’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the Altima Sedan 3.5 SR’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The 335i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 30 more horsepower (300 vs. 270) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 258) than the Altima Sedan 3.5 SR’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the 328i is faster than the Nissan Altima Sedan (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

Altima Sedan 2.5

Altima Sedan 3.5 SR

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

8.4 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

16.4 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.8 MPH

87 MPH

94.8 MPH

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

Torque

328i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

1250 RPM

335i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1300 RPM

Altima Sedan 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

3900 RPM

Altima Sedan 3.5 SR DOHC V6

4400 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

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

3 Series Sedan

Altima Sedan

Turbo 4 cyl./Manual

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

Turbo 6 cyl./Manual

20 city/30 hwy

n/a

Turbo 4 cyl./Auto

24 city/36 hwy

23 city/32 hwy

Non-Turbo

Turbo 6 cyl./Auto

23 city/33 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6

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

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

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

328i

335i

Altima Sedan

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.5 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 Altima Sedan are solid, not vented.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The 3 Series Sedan has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Altima Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

Altima Sedan

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

For better traction, the 3 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the Altima Sedan (225/50R17 vs. 215/60R16). The 3 Series Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Altima Sedan (F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19 vs. 215/60R16).

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Altima Sedan’s standard 60 series tires. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Altima Sedan 3.5 SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 3 Series Sedan has standard 17 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the Altima Sedan. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 19 inch wheels are larger than the 17 inch wheels on the Altima Sedan 3.5 SR.

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 Altima Sedan doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

The 3 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Altima Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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 Altima Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than on the Altima Sedan (110.6 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the Altima Sedan’s (60.8% to 39.2%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 328i handles at .90 G’s, while the Altima Sedan 2.5 S pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 328i executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the Altima Sedan 2.5 S (25.9 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

The 3 Series Sedan is 8.2 inches shorter than the Altima Sedan, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the Altima Sedan 3.5 SR:

3 Series Sedan

Altima Sedan

Full-Throttle

71 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

70 dB

Cargo Capacity Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 3 Series Sedan easier. The 3 Series Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Altima Sedan’s liftover is 27.6 inches.

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. The Altima Sedan’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Ergonomics Comparison

© 1999 - 2020 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. RMDYB-MXOUX 162.241.241.35 2020/05/20

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

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the Altima Sedan 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 Altima Sedan 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 Altima Sedan’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Altima Sedan’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

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

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 Altima Sedan 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 Altima Sedan 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 Altima Sedan only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

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

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 Altima Sedan’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 Altima Sedan offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Altima Sedan offer available heated front seats. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Altima Sedan.

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 Altima Sedan and isn’t available on the Altima Sedan 2.5 Base.

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 Altima Sedan 2.5 Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Altima Sedan 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 Altima Sedan 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 Altima Sedan doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional BMW Apps for the 3 Series Sedan allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.