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2012 BMW 3-Series vs. Its Competition

 
2012 BMW 3-Series
8.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Our expert editors build comparisons like this one to make it easy for you to understand the small handful of cars you should compare to whatever car you are already looking at. You get general thoughts on each car you should consider plus an easy way to compare basic information for yourself.

Compared to the all-new F30 3-Series, the rest of the compact BMW’s main rivals have been around in their current form for a few years.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class also goes four-cylinder for 2012, but its 201-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine in the C250 isn’t quite a substitute for a six-cylinder engine the way that the 328i’s 240-hp engine is.

The C-Class also gets a refresh for 2012, but it’s not a complete redesign.

The Lexus IS has one of the oldest designs among compact sport sedans; it’s not at all competitive in IS 250 guise, but the IS 350 can be quite enjoyable to drive.

That said, it doesn’t pair a composed ride and crisp handling nearly as well as the 3-Series.

The Audi A4 has a strong, economical base powertrain in its current 2.0T form, and its handling is tuned to target the 3-Series, but it doesn’t offer nearly the tech options you can find in the BMW.

Infiniti’s G37 drives like a sports coupe and has excellent steering and handling, but it’s the harshest offering in this class and lacks the refinement luxury shoppers are likely looking for.

2012 BMW 3-Series2012 BMW 3-SeriesBrowse Used Listings2012 Audi A4 4-door Avant Wagon Auto quattro 2.0T Premium Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A4Browse Used Listings2011 Infiniti G37 Sedan 4-door Journey RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Infiniti G37 SedanBrowse Used Listings2011 Lexus IS 250 4-door Sport Sedan Auto AWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Lexus IS 350Browse Used Listings2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class2012 Mercedes-Benz C ClassBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
8.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
The 2012 BMW 3-Series delivers the class-leading sport-sedan performance and handling enthusiasts have come to expect, yet it makes substantial improvements in fuel-efficiency, active safety, and connectivity.
8.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
The 2012 Audi A4 provides an engaging driving experience, impressive in-cabin technology, and surprisingly great fuel efficiency—making it a good everyday driver among premium sedans.
7.8
/ 10
TCC Rating
Forget that the 2012 Infiniti G Sedans are somewhat practical four-door designs; they can provide all the sensory thrills and dynamic satisfaction of full-fledged sports cars.
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
The 2012 Lexus IS 350 and IS 350 aren't as focused and fun to drive as sport sedans from BMW or Infiniti, though especially in F Sport guise they still look great.
8.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
With a new base four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class makes even more sense for value-conscious (yet image-conscious) luxury shoppers.
MSRP From    
$34,900$32,500$36,900$40,220$34,800
Gas Mileage    
17 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Turbocharged Gas I4Turbocharged Gas I4Gas V6Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I4
EPA Class    
Compact CarsCompact CarsMidsize CarsSub-CompactCompact
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan 328i RWD SULEV4-Door Sedan CVT FrontTrak 2.0T Prestige4-Door Journey RWD4-Door Sedan RWD4-Door Sedan C250 Sport RWD
Drivetrain    
Rear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear-Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
55555
Passenger Doors    
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style    
SedanSedan4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan
Transmission    
Automatic w/Manual ShiftContinuously Variable RatioAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/manual shiftAutomatic
 
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