The Competition Can't Keep up with the BMW 3 Series

Westlake and Cleveland drivers have a number of choices in the compact luxury sport sedan segment, but none of them quite match up to the total package that is the BMW 3 Series. Redesigned for 2021, the 3 Series continues its industry-leading ways, setting the standard that other manufacturers aspire to. The Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C-Class, and Cadillac CTS all bring their A-game, but are ultimately found wanting. Here's a summary of how North Olmsted drivers will find the 3 Series stacks up against its luxury car competitors.

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BMW 3 Series vs. the Audi A4

  • Performance: One of the first things that comes to mind when evaluating a sport sedan is the powerplant under the hood. Standard on the 3 Series, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine puts out 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and the 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission can be paired to an all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive system. The A4 manages just 188 horsepower with its standard front-wheel drivetrain. The AWD version gets a boost, but still falls short at 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Even with a more powerful engine, fuel economy numbers are roughly even, with a slight edge to the 3 Series. When comparing the AWD models, the 3 Series boasts EPA-estimate ratings of 25 mpg city, 34 highway, and 28 combined to the A4's 23 mpg city, 34 highway, and 27 combined.
  • Utility: While it's probably not the main consideration when selecting a sport sedan, increased utility adds to the overall ownership experience. The widened wheelbase of the 2021 3 Series allows for 17 cubic-feet of cargo room, while the A4 claims just 13 cubic-feet. As an added bonus, the 3 Series comes standard with run flat tires, which aren't even an option on the A4.

BMW 3 Series vs. the Mercedes Benz C-Class

  • Performance: The C-Class offers equal horsepower, but the 3 Series surges confidently ahead thanks to its 22 more foot-pounds of torque. The 2021 3 Series also touts a retuned suspension that increases its already legendary handling. Conversely, had some complaints about the stiff handling of the C-Class.*
  • Technology: What is a luxury car without its tech? Once again, we'll defer to the experts at Edmunds, who lauded the upscale interior of the 3 Series and it's intuitive, easy-to-use controls, and frowned at the C-Class' "clumsy touchpad infotainment system*".
  • Utility and Comfort: The 3 Series comes out on top as it offers greater head room, leg room, and shoulder room than the C-Class. Additionally, the 17 cubic-feet of usable cargo space dwarfs the 12.6 cubic-feet of the C-Class.



BMW 3 Series vs. Cadillac CTS

  • Handling: The 3 Series' handling is as lively as ever, while critics still aren't sold on the ride quality of the CTS. Cadillac has boosted the power numbers of the CTS, but laments the stiff-leggedness of a suspension that is too "tied down."*
  • Technology: The upscale interior of the 3 Series is nicely adorned with logically arranged controls, and an easy to use infotainment system. Meanwhile, the CTS tries to do too much, but ultimately fails to impress; with calling it out for its touch-sensitive controls that "simply don't work as well as knobs and hard keys." The interface for Cadillac's native audio and navigation system was described as "frustrating."*
  • Utility and Fuel Efficiency: At 17 cubic-feet, the 3 Series offers greater cargo room than the CTS (13.7 cubic-feet), despite the latter's extra length. The 3 Series also delivers greater fuel economy. EPA estimates for rear-wheel economy are 26 mpg city, 36 highway, and 30 combined for the 3 Series, and 22 mpg city, 30 highway, 25 combined for the CTS.


If you're in the market for a new sport sedan near Lorain, Rocky River, Avon Lake, or North Olmsted, we know you'll love the 2021 BMW 3 Series. You don't have to take our word for it though. Come try one for yourself. It's waiting for you right here at BMW of Westlake.