2021 BMW 5 Series vs 2022 BMW 3 Series

2021 BMW 5 Series
2021 BMW 5 Series
$54,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2022 BMW 3 Series
2022 BMW 3 Series
$41,450MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 BMW 5 Series
$54,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 BMW 3 Series
$41,450MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 BMW 5 Series is 8.0 out of 10, while the 2022 BMW 3 Series scores 8.7 out of 10. With its higher rating, enhanced driving dynamics, and comprehensive technology package, the 2022 BMW 3 Series emerges as the better choice for those seeking a sporty yet practical sedan. While the 5 Series offers a refined, luxury-focused experience, the 3 Series hits the sweet spot between performance and everyday usability.

Overview

MSRP

$54,200

MSRP

$41,450

Average price

$36,657

Average price

$34,577

Listings

1797

Listings

365
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

8.0 out of 10

Expert reviews

8.7 out of 10
Pros
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Easy-to-use technology
Cons
  • Manual transmission not available
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
  • Stereo is lacking

2021 BMW 5 Series Reviews Summary

BMW was once known for sports sedans, and the 5 Series was one of the most prolific of those sedans. Sitting between the 3 Series and 7 Series in size and price, previous generations of 5 Series were known for a balance of performance and luxury, with impeccable engineering throughout.

Today, the BMW 5 Series is largely irrelevant. The 3 Series is now so big that there is less reason to upgrade, and most buyers are more interested in SUVs anyway. The competition—including the Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Volvo S90—has also gotten better.

That doesn’t mean BMW has given up on the 5 Series. The current generation (codename G30) arrived for the 2017 model year, but it gets a midcycle refresh (or LCI, short for “Life Cycle Impulse,” in BMW speak) for 2021. Major updates include a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a bigger infotainment touchscreen, and subtle styling changes.

The 2021 BMW 5 Series is not like the 5 Series models of old. That may drive away hardcore car fans, but the 2021 model makes a strong case to new-car buyers, maintaining sportier-than-average driving dynamics, along with the tech and luxury features expected of a car in this segment.

2022 BMW 3 Series Reviews Summary

Four years ago, the seventh-generation BMW 3 Series sedan arrived wearing an evolutionary design and a traditionally conservative appearance. While BMW has expanded the lineup to add plug-in hybrid and performance-tuned models and has tweaked the car’s available colors and features, the 2022 3 Series remains essentially the same as it has since 2019. Every 3 Series has the Live Cockpit Professional digital instrumentation with navigation this year, and BMW makes minor changes to the standard and optional equipment lists.
No video found
No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

2.0L 248 hp I4

Engine

2.0L 255 hp I4

Drive Train

RWD

Drive Train

RWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

248 hp @ 5200 rpm

Horsepower

255 hp @ 5000 rpm

MPG City

25

MPG City

26

MPG Highway

33

MPG Highway

36
2021 BMW 5 Series
2021 BMW 5 Series
$54,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 BMW 3 Series
2022 BMW 3 Series
$41,450MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 BMW 5 Series
$54,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 BMW 3 Series
$41,450MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 BMW 5 Series is 8.0 out of 10, while the 2022 BMW 3 Series scores 8.7 out of 10. With its higher rating, enhanced driving dynamics, and comprehensive technology package, the 2022 BMW 3 Series emerges as the better choice for those seeking a sporty yet practical sedan. While the 5 Series offers a refined, luxury-focused experience, the 3 Series hits the sweet spot between performance and everyday usability.

Overview
MSRP
$54,200
$41,450
Average price
$36,657
$34,577
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.6
4.3
Expert reviews

8.0 out of 10

Read full review

8.7 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Easy-to-use technology
Cons
  • Manual transmission not available
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
  • Stereo is lacking
Summary

BMW was once known for sports sedans, and the 5 Series was one of the most prolific of those sedans. Sitting between the 3 Series and 7 Series in size and price, previous generations of 5 Series were known for a balance of performance and luxury, with impeccable engineering throughout.

Today, the BMW 5 Series is largely irrelevant. The 3 Series is now so big that there is less reason to upgrade, and most buyers are more interested in SUVs anyway. The competition—including the Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Volvo S90—has also gotten better.

That doesn’t mean BMW has given up on the 5 Series. The current generation (codename G30) arrived for the 2017 model year, but it gets a midcycle refresh (or LCI, short for “Life Cycle Impulse,” in BMW speak) for 2021. Major updates include a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a bigger infotainment touchscreen, and subtle styling changes.

The 2021 BMW 5 Series is not like the 5 Series models of old. That may drive away hardcore car fans, but the 2021 model makes a strong case to new-car buyers, maintaining sportier-than-average driving dynamics, along with the tech and luxury features expected of a car in this segment.

Four years ago, the seventh-generation BMW 3 Series sedan arrived wearing an evolutionary design and a traditionally conservative appearance. While BMW has expanded the lineup to add plug-in hybrid and performance-tuned models and has tweaked the car’s available colors and features, the 2022 3 Series remains essentially the same as it has since 2019. Every 3 Series has the Live Cockpit Professional digital instrumentation with navigation this year, and BMW makes minor changes to the standard and optional equipment lists.
Video
No video found
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.0L 248 hp I4
2.0L 255 hp I4
Drive Train
RWD
RWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
248 hp @ 5200 rpm
255 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG City
25
26
MPG Highway
33
36
Look and feel
2021 BMW 5 Series
8/10
2022 BMW 3 Series
9/10
The 2021 BMW 5 Series boasted the most restrained design of any current BMW sedan at the time. Lacking the flashy design flourishes of the 3 Series, it aimed for a sleek, understated look. The 2021 model featured a minor styling refresh, presenting sleeker LED headlights that integrated more smoothly into the front end. BMW's iconic twin-kidney grille grew larger but stayed tastefully within proportion, avoiding the exaggerated size seen on the 7 Series sedan. Enhancements included trapezoidal tailpipes, new L-shaped taillights, and updated front and rear bumpers for the M Sport Package. The car gained 1.2 inches in length, maintaining an effective drag coefficient of 0.27, affording it aerodynamic efficiency. Inside, the 5 Series retained a familiar BMW layout, with its distinguishing features indispensable to the brand’s identity—from the uniquely designed shifter to the distinct typefaces and door chimes. The luxurious feel was somewhat hit-or-miss, as lower trims came with SensaTec upholstery instead of genuine leather. However, premium materials such as Dakota and Nappa leather were available, with our test car sporting an exquisite Nappa leather option. The sophisticated interior was enhanced with aluminum trim featuring a distinctive scale pattern but somewhat hampered by a sport steering wheel that seemed out of place in terms of its overly large grip and rim dimensions, especially given the car's effortless steering. The 2022 BMW 3 Series range included the 330i, 330e, M340i, and M3, with starting prices from $41,450 to $73,000, excluding destination charges. Each variant offered a different powertrain, from turbocharged four-cylinder engines in the 330i and 330e to a six-cylinder with mild-hybrid tech in the M340i. The M3 was the pinnacle of the lineup in terms of performance.
Performance
2021 BMW 5 Series
8/10
2022 BMW 3 Series
10/10
The 2021 BMW 5 Series was available with various powertrain options. The base 530i used a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, achieving 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. The 540i upgraded to a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, providing 335 hp and 362 lb-ft of torque, accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds with xDrive all-wheel drive. The test car, a 540i xDrive, offered commendable handling due to optional adaptive dampers and a silky six-cylinder engine. Despite its sporty demeanor, it fell short of being the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” leaning more towards a luxury sedan with sporty pretensions. For a significant performance bump, the M550i xDrive featured a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivering 532 hp, reducing the 0-60 mph time to 3.7 seconds. The high-performance M5, boasting 617 hp in the Competition spec, could sprint from 0-60 mph in an astonishing 3.1 seconds, with a top speed of 190 mph with the optional M Driver's Package. Additionally, the 530e plug-in hybrid offered an eco-friendlier option with a combined output of 288 hp, doing 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, and providing significant electric-only driving range, although specific 2021 EPA figures were not available at the time. The 2022 BMW 3 Series M340i featured a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six equipped with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, delivering 382 horsepower between 5,800-6,500 rpm and 368 lb-ft of torque from 1,800-5,000 rpm. The eight-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode and paddle shifters ensured a dynamic driving experience, with the standard M Sport differential effectively managing power to the rear wheels. BMW claimed the M340i could achieve 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and the car’s performance on twisty roads validated this claim, responding eagerly and precisely to driver inputs. The M340i impressed with its driving dynamics, featuring M Sport ventilated brakes, variable sport steering, and a standard M Sport suspension. The test vehicle's Adaptive M Suspension further improved its handling, making it perfect for spirited drives. Despite the previous generation’s contentious introduction of extensive software and electronics, BMW had refined these systems, ensuring the 3 Series remained a benchmark in the sports sedan segment.
Form and function
2021 BMW 5 Series
8/10
2022 BMW 3 Series
8/10
In the U.S., the 5 Series was solely a four-door, five-seat sedan. It offered generous front-seat space and commendable rear-seat room, though slightly less than rivals on paper. The trunk capacity stood at 14.0 cubic feet, exceeding that of the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, enhanced by a 40/20/20 split-fold rear bench. The test car's 16-way power front seats, featuring lumbar support, driver memory, heating, and ventilation, provided ample comfort and support. However, the forward visibility was poor due to the high hood, although a surround-view camera system alleviated parking difficulties. The 3 Series, despite its sporty demeanor, maintained practicality and comfort. The M340i's power-adjustable front sport seats offered extensive support, and the driving position was ergonomically perfect. Rear seat space was sufficient for four tall adults, though the middle seat was less practical. The car featured a three-zone automatic climate control system, with the Premium package adding heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, though ventilated front seats were unavailable—a curious omission. The M340i provided 17 cubic feet of trunk space, with a 40/20/40 split rear seat adding versatility. A sports wagon variant would have been ideal, but BMW chose to cater to the SUV-loving American market instead.
Technology
2021 BMW 5 Series
9/10
2022 BMW 3 Series
8/10
For 2021, the 5 Series came standard with a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring the latest iDrive 7 system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. It included Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM 360L satellite radio, and a WiFi hotspot. The graphics quality on both screens was superior, although the instrument cluster’s layout could have been clearer. The infotainment’s rotary knob controller offered a tactile alternative to touch-only interfaces. Available voice control and gesture controls provided additional interaction methods, though the latter could be challenging to master. All 2022 3 Series models came with Live Cockpit Professional with navigation, featuring a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.25-inch touchscreen display. Although not as visually stunning as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the system was highly intuitive, allowing control via a center console knob, touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, or voice recognition. Gesture control was available but inconsistently effective. The 3 Series included Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and a 10-speaker HiFi sound system. Unfortunately, the previously available Harman Kardon system was omitted in 2022. Connected Package Pro added BMW Remote Services and Intelligent Personal Assistant, which responded accurately to voice commands. The SOS button could summon emergency services, and the optional Premium package included a head-up display, though difficult to read with polarized sunglasses. The Driving Assistance Professional package included advanced driver assistance features and automated parking capabilities.
Safety
2021 BMW 5 Series
9/10
2022 BMW 3 Series
9/10
The 2021 BMW 5 Series had not been crash-tested by IIHS, but the 2020 model received a "Top Safety Pick+" award. Standard safety features included lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams. The optional Driving Assistance Plus Package added adaptive cruise control, traffic-jam assist, lane-keep assist, and emergency stop assist. NHTSA did not publish recent safety ratings for the 5 Series. For 2022, the BMW 3 Series included basic safety tech within the Active Guard package, featuring forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning. The Driving Assistance package added blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Driving Assistance Professional package included lane-keeping and lane-centering assist along with Extended Traffic Jam Assistant for semi-autonomous driving. The 3 Series received a Top Safety Pick from IIHS with optional adaptive LED headlights and five-star ratings from NHTSA, ensuring top-tier safety performance.
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By: CarGurus + AI

This car comparison has been created with using generative AI. It is based entirely on CarGurus expert review content, ratings and data, and leverages our extensive library of hands-on product tests to create thousands of unique comparisons to help shoppers choose the right car.