Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW 3 Series VS 2016 Toyota Avalon Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2016 Toyota Avalon

Safety Comparison

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) offers an optional Surround View 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, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

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 Stress

345 lbs.

354 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/434 lbs.

492/592 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

150

269

Neck Injury Risk

32%

38%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

188 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

108 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

467/455 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.

297 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

291

365

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

45 G’s

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

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has a better fatality history. The 3 Series Sedan was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 26.9% lower per vehicle registered than the Avalon, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Avalon (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 3 Series Sedan third among compact premium cars in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The Avalon isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine Comparison

The 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 248) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The 340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 52 more horsepower (320 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 330i is faster than the Toyota Avalon V6 (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

97.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

3 Series Sedan

Avalon

2WD

320i/Manual

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

330i/Manual

21 city/32 hwy

n/a

340i/Manual

19 city/29 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

330i/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

21 city/31 hwy

V6/Auto

340i/Auto

21 city/32 hwy

n/a

AWD

340i/Manual

19 city/29 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

330i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

340i/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

n/a

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

320i/330i

340i

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

159 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

148 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’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 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 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 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 340i xDrive handles at .94 G’s, while the Avalon XLE pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 340i 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).

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Avalon’s (37.1 feet vs. 40 feet). The 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Avalon’s (38.4 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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 330i 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 in front of the driver’s line of sight, 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/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 typical repairs cost much less on the 3 Series Sedan than the Avalon, including $32 less for front brake pads, $184 less for front struts and $545 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

TRUE

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 Avalon isn’t in the top three in its category.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 22 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 20 years. The Avalon has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 3 and 4 Series outsold the Toyota Avalon by over two to one during 2015.

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