The new 3 Series beats the Audi A4 and matches the Mercedes C-Class.
Now in its G20 generation, the 2019 BMW 3 Series hosts a large number of changes from its predecessor. It’s sportier than before, thanks to a more rigid design and a slippery drag coefficient, while maintaining its 50:50 weight distribution. The new 3 Series also gets a sharper, more aggressive design, with some new standard LED headlights. Those headlights are key to this model’s safety, in fact, as they helped this car land an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Like the last generation, the 2019 BMW 3 Series scored a “Good” rating in every catch tests. That includes the passenger side small overlap crash test, which the old car did not undergo. Key differences here, however, included better front crash protection and better rated headlights. On the headlight front, all cars have to score a “Good” rating in order to hit the Top Safety+ mark.
The 2019 BMW 3 Series managed a “Superior” rating for its frontal crash protection, at least on higher-end models. Older models managed a “Basic” — the lowest rating — on models simply equipped with standard automatic emergency braking. Better-equipped models managed the middle of the range at “Advanced”.
There is a catch
These IIHS crash test ratings bestow cars with a “Top Safety Pick+” award on the best-equipped models. While the 330i with the optional Executive Packaged scored a “Good” rating, models without it did not fare as well. Models equipped with the Convenience package scored “Marginal”, even creating some glare.
Base models scored Poor, as they were inadequate and all the tests and keep a fixed position.
Taking all the tests into account, the BMW 3 Series bettered the Audi A4, while matching the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Although, the BMW scored worse on its lower-level headlights than either car. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz managed “Acceptable” for its headlights on the base models, and a “Good” on the best-equipped version.