The BMW G20 3 Series was unveiled in 2018 as the direct successor to the F30 3 Series; built on the new CLAR platform, it offers many improvements over the F30. The 330i arguably represents the sweet spot of the BMW 3-Series range with both generations. It is an excellent balance of performance, comfort, economy, and practicality.
The F30 330i is still a modern car and has a few remnants of the old BMW philosophy such as the manual transmission, combined with modern BMW, like the use of turbocharged engines. The newer G20 330i is a more grown-up, more premium-feeling compact sedan compared to the F30 330i, and its engineering and design diverge significantly from older 3 Series such as the E46.
How does the BMW F30 330i compare to the newer G20 330i in terms of performance, handling, interior features, practicality, design, and price? Here is a full comparison between these two desirable BMW compact sedans.
BMW F30 330i vs G20 330i Overview
|BMW F30 330i
|BMW G20 330i
|ZF 8HP 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual
|ZF 8HP 8-speed automatic
|RWD & AWD (xDrive)
|RWD & AWD (xDrive)
|3,406 – 3,616 lbs
|3,186 – 3,395 lbs
|2012 – 2019
F30 330i vs BMW G20 330i Engine & Performance
Both use the BMW B48 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, but power outputs do differ slightly as the unit in the G20 is slightly improved. The F30 330i offers 248hp and 260lb-ft of torque between 5,200 and 6,500rpm while the G20 330i pushes out 255hp and 295lb-ft of torque between 5,000 and 6,500rpm.
The BMW G20 330i accelerates to 60mph faster than the F30 330i
The BMW F30 330i xDrive with an automatic transmission does 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds while RWD and manual models are closer to 6 seconds. The new G20 330i with xDrive can reach 60mph from a standstill in about 5 seconds while the RWD model is close to 5.4 seconds. The G20 330i can put its power down a bit better which means that 0-60mph runs are faster.
The above numbers show that the G20 offers a minor performance upgrade over the F30. even though the F30’s torque band is slightly better while the horsepower band is quite similar. You will feel the difference in torque a bit more easily between the two models which means that the G20 330i feels like the better-performing car.
If you’re looking for the best-performing 3 Series and don’t mind the extra upfront cost and reduced fuel economy, consider the 340i or M340i with the B58 engine.
F30 330i vs G20 330i Suspension & Handling
The BMW F30 is a car known for its impressive handling, many attributing it to its relatively light inline-4 engine being located entirely behind the front axle. When equipped with the Adaptive M Suspension it can be a fun, sporty daily driver that can still fit 3 adults in the back.
The main weakness of the F30 when it comes to driver engagement is its numb and disconnected steering feel due to the electric power steering, a serious downgrade from the hydraulic power steering of older BMWs.
Both cars are nimble sports sedans, but the G20 has a more engaging steering feel
An improved suspension design and enhanced bushings make the G20 slightly more planted on corners and more stable at highway speeds. The adaptive suspension package offered on the G20 is also better as it is now stiffer in Sport mode and more comfortable in Comfort mode compared to the F30.
More importantly, BMW listened to customer feedback and re-designed the steering rack for the G20. The new steering rack provides more feedback to the drive through the steering which is a very welcome addition for driving enthusiasts.
F30 330i vs G20 330i Comfort & Refinement
Both of these cars are primarily designed to be comfortable, usable, and enjoyable both on city streets and on the highway. Be that as it may, the G20 330i takes it here as well because it feels a bit chunkier, but in a good way. Rear seat passenger space and comfort levels are fairly equal with both models, but the G20 330i has a slight improvement in ride comfort and softness. It isolates you from unwanted exterior noise a lot better while absorbing road imperfections more graciously.
Even though the F30 is still a comfortable and enjoyable cruiser, the G20 is more than just a slight improvement in refinement, reaching almost 5 Series level of passenger and driver comfort.
F30 330i vs G20 330i Interior & Features
The BMW F30 interior was criticized the moment it came out as many people thought it looked a bit dated even then, and more so by the end of its life cycle. The LCI did little to remedy that. Material quality and fit and finish were also deemed mediocre for a luxury sedan.
The BMW G20 330i is better-equipped and more comfortable than the F30 330i
On the other hand, the new G20 offers a huge upgrade over the F30s interior. It features better interior design and creature comforts such as improved ambient lighting, a modernized center console, a bigger iDrive screen, and all of which are unavailable with the F30. The G20 LCI interior also has two big iPad-like screens, and although it has been a controversial addition, these screens can display a lot of useful information.
It still retains the “driver-focused” design philosophy, while also offering increased comfort and technology offerings for all passengers.
F30 330i vs G20 330i Practicality & Efficiency
The G20 330i has an almost 2-inch longer wheelbase which is noticeable in the rear seating area where the G20 330i is slightly roomier. The trunk space measures 17 cubic feet on both while visibility is slightly improved with the G20 and features a slightly larger cabin volume.
The F30 330i can return around 30MPG in the city and 46MPG on the highway while the G20 330i can return up to 33MPG in the city and 47MPG on the highway. Both come with a 15.6 US-gallon fuel tank, but the G20 330i does return better fuel economy.
Both the F30 and the G20 are roomy sedans with relatively roomy trunks although you might want to opt for the wagon version (F31 and G21) for the extra rear space.
F30 330i vs G20 330i Exterior Design
Looks are subjective which is why we are going to keep this short. The F30 surely does look incredible if it’s a well-specced M-Sport package model, but lower-spec models look a bit cheap, especially in markets where halogen headlights come as standard.
The F30 330i with the M-Sport package will be a timeless design, but the G20 rear end is stunning
On the other hand, the G20 330i looks more grown-up, although many are not a fan of its soft front angles when compared to the sharp F30 front end. Even M-Sport models of the G20 aren’t nearly as aggressive as M-Sport F30 models. That said, the rear end of the G20 is an improvement over the rear end of the F30.
F30 330i vs G20 330i Price & value
You can’t buy the F30 330i new anymore. Low mileage well-equipped pre-owned models will set you back around $20,000 at the very least. A used G20 330i is still going to be in the $30,000+ territory while new G20 330i models start from $43,295 for the 2023 model year.
The F30 330i undoubtedly offers better value for the price, especially considering both are equipped with the same engine and transmission, a combination that has proven to be reliable without the need to spend thousands to keep it running.
The BMW 3-Series is often regarded as the best BMW sedan out there because it balances performance, comfort, practicality, size, and price better than the 5-Series, and especially the 7-Series. The G20 3-Series continues that philosophy from the F30 generation, but with many improvements across the range.
The G20 is more refined and more grown-up, yet it also manages to be more dynamic and more responsive. The F30 is now becoming a great used car, and some are sure to miss the manual gearbox, but if you want the best BMW 330i money can buy, you will have to go for the G20 over the F30.