Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2014 BMW 3 Series VS 2014 Acura TL Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2014 BMW 3 Series

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2014 Acura TL

Safety Comparison

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 TL doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan offers optional City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The TL doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The TL doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The TL only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The 3 Series Sedan has standard 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 TL 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 TL have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Acura TL:

3 Series Sedan




4 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/434 lbs.

395/654 lbs.



5 Stars

3 Stars




Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

115 lbs.

220 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

1190/895 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Acura TL:

3 Series Sedan



5 Stars

4 Stars

Front Seat


5 Stars

3 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

232 G’s

345 G’s

Hip Force

184 lbs.

449 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

4 Stars




Hip Force

688 lbs.

906 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

18 inches

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

689 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the TL’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, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the TL.

There are over 28 percent more BMW dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170-amp alternator (200-amp - ActiveHybrid 3). The TL’s 130-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 TL’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the TL:



328i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

335i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

ActiveHybrid 3 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

TL 3.5 SOHC V6

280 HP

254 lbs.-ft.

TL 3.7 SOHC V6

305 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 254) than the TL’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 273) than the TL’s optional 3.7 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW 3 Series Sedan is faster than the Acura TL SH-AWD (automatics tested):




Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

4.4 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

13 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

105.4 MPH

96.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the ActiveHybrid 3 gets better fuel mileage than the TL FWD (25 city/33 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 328d gets better fuel mileage than the TL:

3 Series Sedan




32 city/45 hwy

20 city/29 hwy




17 city/25 hwy


31 city/43 hwy

18 city/26 hwy

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

3 Series Sedan




24 city/36 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

3.5 V6


23 city/35 hwy



22 city/32 hwy




20 city/28 hwy

17 city/25 hwy



23 city/35 hwy

18 city/26 hwy



22 city/33 hwy


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

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 335i’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the TL:



Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 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 TL are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops shorter than the TL:

3 Series Sedan


60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the TL SH-AWD ®’s optional 40 series tires.

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 TL doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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 TL’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 TL (110.6 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the TL’s (58% to 42%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 320i handles at .92 G’s, while the TL SH-AWD ® pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 328i goes through Road & Track’s slalom 1.6 MPH faster than the TL SH-AWD ® (69 vs. 67.4 MPH).

The 335i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the TL SH-AWD ® (25.6 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the TL’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 500 pounds less than the Acura TL.

The 3 Series Sedan is 11.5 inches shorter than the TL, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the TL SH-AWD ®:

3 Series Sedan


At idle

39 dB

51 dB


70 dB

78 dB

50 MPH Cruising

60 dB

72 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 1.9 inches more front headroom and 1 inch more rear headroom than the TL.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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 TL’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The TL doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 3 Series Sedan’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The TL doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an available 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 TL doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the TL 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 TL 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 TL’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 TL’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 TL 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 TL doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The TL 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 TL 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 (except 320i) to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The TL doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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 TL has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the TL 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 TL.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 3 Series Sedan (except Manual/320i) 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 TL 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 connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The TL doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’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 TL doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the TL because it costs $828 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 3 Series Sedan than the TL, including $284 less for an alternator, $102 less for a fuel pump and $525 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

3 Series Sedan


Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick


Car Book “Best Bet”



J.D. Power and Associates rated the 3 Series Sedan third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The TL isn’t in the top three.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 20 years. The TL has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 18 years. The TL has never been an “All Star.”

The 3 Series was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2006 Car of the Year. The TL has never been chosen.

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Acura TL by almost five to one during 2013.

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