Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW 3 Series VS 2017 Nissan Maxima Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2017 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2017 Nissan Maxima

Safety Comparison

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

The 3 Series Sedan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

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 Nissan Maxima:

 

3 Series

Maxima

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

37%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

132 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

56 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

554/51 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 Nissan Maxima:

 

3 Series

Maxima

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

258

295

Hip Force

184 lbs.

286 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

326

391

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

291

300

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

997 lbs.

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

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 Maxima’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 Maxima’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Maxima.

Reliability Comparison

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170-amp alternator (180-amp - 3 Series Sedan Diesel and 200 ActiveHybrid). The Maxima’s 150-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 Maxima’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 14th in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 27th.

Engine Comparison

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The 340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (320 vs. 300) and 69 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the 330i is faster than the Nissan Maxima (automatics tested):

 

3 Series

Maxima

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

 

 

3 Series

Maxima

 

RWD

Auto

31 city/43 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

 

AWD

Auto

30 city/40 hwy

n/ay

 

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

 

 

3 Series

Maxima

 

RWD

320i/Manual

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

 

 

330i/Manual

21 city/32 hwy

n/a

 

 

320i/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

 

 

330i/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

 

340i/Auto

21 city/32 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

320i/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

 

 

330i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

 

 

340i/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

n/a

 

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

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the 340i’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:

 

340i

Maxima

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.13 inches

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Maxima:

 

3 Series

Maxima

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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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 Maxima 3.5 SR’s 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 Maxima doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Maxima’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 Maxima’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 Maxima (110.6 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the Maxima’s (60.8% to 39.2%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 320i handles at .95 G’s, while the Maxima 3.5 SR pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.

The 340i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Maxima Platinum (25.6 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Maxima’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan is 10 inches shorter than the Maxima, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has .9 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more rear headroom and .9 inches more rear legroom than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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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 Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

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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 Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima’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 Maxima’s standard 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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Maxima 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 Maxima.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because typical repairs cost less on the 3 Series Sedan than the Maxima, including $45 less for front brake pads.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 3 Series Sedan will be $560 to $4034 less than for the Nissan Maxima.

Recommendations Comparison

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

 

3 Series

Maxima

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

n/a

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 23 years. The Maxima 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 21 years. The Maxima has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Nissan Maxima by 43% during the 2016 model year.

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