Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW 3 Series VS 2015 Toyota Avalon Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2015 Toyota Avalon

Safety Comparison

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 3 points, IIHS rates the City Collision Mitigation optional in the 3 Series Sedan as “Advanced.” The Avalon scores only 1 point, and is rated only “Basic.”

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

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 Avalon 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 Avalon only offers a rear monitor.

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

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 Toyota Avalon:

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

36%

44%

Neck Stress

345 lbs.

353 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/434 lbs.

405/546 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

150

253

Neck Injury Risk

32%

37%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

218 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

107 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

443/484 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 Toyota Avalon:

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

184 lbs.

384 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

17 inches

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

984 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

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 Avalon’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 Avalon’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 2 years and 25000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Avalon (4/50,000 vs. 2/25000).

Engine Comparison

The 328i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (255 vs. 248) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The 335i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (300 vs. 268) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 248) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The ActiveHybrid 3’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 67 more horsepower (335 vs. 268) and 82 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 248) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 248) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW 3 Series Sedan is faster than the Toyota Avalon V6 (automatics tested):

328i

335i

Avalon

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

4.4 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

13 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

105.4 MPH

97.4 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

320i/328i

335i

Avalon

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.1 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 Avalon are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Avalon:

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the 3 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the Avalon (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17).

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 Avalon XLE/XLE Premium’s standard 55 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 Avalon XLE Touring/Limited’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 3 Series Sedan offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Avalon’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 Avalon doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the Avalon’s (61.2% to 38.8%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 320i handles at .92 G’s, while the Avalon Limited pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 335i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Avalon Limited (25.6 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Toyota Avalon.

The 3 Series Sedan is 1 foot shorter than the Avalon, 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 Avalon XLE:

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

Full-Throttle

71 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Avalon 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 Avalon 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 Avalon doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left down on the 3 Series Sedan w/Comfort Access 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 Avalon 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 Avalon XLE/Premium/Touring’s standard 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 Avalon 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 Avalon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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 Avalon 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.

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 Avalon’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

On extremely cold Winter days, the 3 Series Sedan’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Avalon doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Avalon 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 Avalon because it costs $198 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 3 Series Sedan than the Avalon, including $107 less for fuel injection, $65 less for a fuel pump and $693 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

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

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 21 years. The Avalon 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 19 years. The Avalon has never been an “All Star.”

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

The BMW 3 and 4 Series outsold the Toyota Avalon by over two to one during the 2014 model year.

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