Comparing BMW Models

BMW vehicles are the epitome of refinement and class, but with so many models to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

For drivers wanting a comfortable and fun to drive executive car, both the BMW 3 Series and the larger BMW 5 Series are great choices.

Both models are extremely well-built and offer a great experience, with plenty of features, technology, and incredible performance to enjoy. There are some differences though, which we will explore below.

Driving Experience and Performance

BMW 3 Series Side

The 3 Series and 5 Series are both great cars to drive and perform really well, as is expected from a BMW model. The 3 Series, pictured above, can be a bit firmer and feels sportier to drive than the 5 Series, which can result in it being a bit less comfortable, but if you are after a sporty drive, the 3 Series may suit your needs better.

For drivers wanting an executive car that is more comfortable and luxurious, the 5 Series could be a great fit as it is a bit more refined than the 3 Series.

New 3 Series and 5 Series models only come with automatic transmission available, which can make driving a lot easier, but enthusiasts would argue it can take the fun out of their driving experience. Both models were previously available with manual transmission, so you may be able to find a manual used version.


BMW 3 Series Front

When it comes to engine choices, there is not much difference between the 3 Series, shown above, and the 5 Series as both come with such a range, including traditional ICE engines with both petrol and diesel available, as well as plug-in hybrid alternatives.

There are now more plug-in hybrid options for both models as BMW steer towards offering more electric power, as most brands are nowadays. A standout choice for the 3 Series is the 330e xDrive PHEV powertrain, offering 288bhp and achieving 0 to 62mph in 5.8 seconds. With the 5 Series, there is the 530e giving nearly exactly the same stats as the 330e engine, but there is also the higher performing 545e xDrive option that offers 389bhp and reaches 62mph in 4.6 just seconds.

Both models used to offer a 6-speed manual gearbox, but now all new models are given an 8-speed automatic transmission.


BMW 3 Series Saloon and Touring Pair

Saloon and Touring bodystyles are available for both the 5 Series and 3 Series (as pictured above), giving drivers even more choice when it comes to these BMW models.

The exterior of both models is well-designed and well-built, with plenty of colour choices too. Both offer fairly subdued exterior colours, which is expected of cars in the higher end of the market like the 3 Series and 5 Series. The main difference is that the 5 Series offers more white, grey, and black options as it is the more refined and sophisticated of the two.

Again, there is little difference when it comes to the interiors of both models as they are both well-made, using high quality materials and finishes, no matter what trim level you choose. The 5 Series has a slightly more upmarket feel to the interior as it does tend to come with a higher price tag than the 3 Series, but you will not feel short-changed with either of the model's interiors.


BMW 5 Series Touring Front

The key difference between the 3 Series and the 5 Series when it comes to practicality, is the extra space on offer with the 5 Series, which is shown above. The boot space is larger in the 5 Series with between 530 and 560 litres available, which can be extended to 1,700 litres with the rear seats folded. On the other hand, the 3 Series offers between 375 and 500 litres depending on bodystyle and specification, or up to 1,510 litres with the seats down.

The interior of the 5 Series is also a bit more spacious, with the passengers in the rear feeling much more comfortable thanks to the larger head and legroom on offer. The 3 Series is still very reasonable when it comes to interior space though, and passengers will not be lacking in any way.

With both models coming in Saloon and Touring bodystyles, there is the opportunity to get more space by choosing the Touring version.

Technology and Safety

BMW 5 Series Interior

Technology is plentiful in both the 3 Series and 5 Series, as can be expected from BMW models. There is not much difference in terms of standard equipment between the two models, but there are some differences when you choose trims higher up in the range for each model.

The 5 Series, as pictured above, has a slightly more advanced sat nav system as well as a head-up display, but both models benefit from features like BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, and digital displays and infotainment clusters on the dashboard.

Safety is also covered, with both models achieving a five-star rating in the Euro NCAP safety tests. Both the 3 Series and 5 Series come with safety features like Parking Assistant and Active Guard Plus, along with a selection of advanced driver assistance systems.

Choose your BMW model with Stratstone

As you can see, there is not a huge difference between the BMW 3 Series and the BMW 5 Series, but if you are looking for something a bit more spacious and refined, the 5 Series is a good fit. But, if you do not need the extra space and higher level of luxury, the 3 Series is still an excellent choice, providing a great driving experience at a lower price point.

If you would like more information about BMW models available, or would like to test drive one, contact your nearest Stratstone BMW dealer.