In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Maxima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers optional Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Maxima’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Maxima and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series Sedan has not been tested, yet.
Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 3 Series Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 3 Series Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are over 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The 3 Series Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 11th.
The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 45 more horsepower (300 vs. 255) than the 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
The Maxima has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan (18 vs. 15.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the 3 Series Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/45R18). The Maxima’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/35R20).
The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Maxima has .7 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the 3 Series Sedan.
The Maxima has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance.