2020 Acura ILX Vs. 2020 BMW 3 Series

By Justin Cupler | February 17th, 2020

Compact luxury sedans have quickly moved upmarket as subcompacts have stepped in at the bottom of many lineups. Despite this shift, the Acura ILX remains one of the most affordable luxury sedans in the Rochester area. How does it stand up against an icon like the 2020 BMW 3 Series and its ballooning MSRP? Continue reading to find out.

Exterior

On the outside, the 2020 BMW 3 Series is a great-looking luxury sedan that went through its last redesign just a year ago. Sure, its rework was not too significant, as most Bimmer redesigns go, but it is still a legendary stunner.

With its rear-wheel-drive platform, the 2020 BMW 3-Series boasts legit sports sedan proportions, including a long hood, stubby backside and wheels pushed as far to the corners as possible. And this look only gets better when you move into the performance-oriented M340i model or add the M Sport package.

The Acura ILX may not have the exact sports sedan proportions, but the designers took this front-driven sedan and elongated its hood as much as possible to give it this appearance. Otherwise, the ILX is a sharp sedan with its plethora of sharp body lines, swooping roof, and stubby backside. When you move into the A-Spec model, the ILX gains an even sharper look with gloss-black accents and unique wheels.

As for standard features, the Acura ILX is very well-equipped for its relatively low base price. Its standard exterior features include 17-inch Glitter Silver machine-finished alloy wheels, a power moonroof, remote-operated power moonroof, Jewel Eye LED headlights with auto-on/off, LED taillights, LED daytime running lights, heated side-view mirrors, chrome exhaust outlets, and an acoustic laminated windshield.

The 3 Series costs significantly more than the ILX, and has most of the same features, though it does add a set of 18-inch wheels.

Breaking out the tape measure, the 2020 BMW 3 Series is significantly larger than the ILX in every key measurable. This makes the ILX a friendlier drive in dense city traffic and tight parking lots.

Measurement 2020 Acura ILX 2020 BMW 3 Series Difference
Length (in.) 182.2 185.7 -3.5
Width (in.) 70.6 71.9 -1.3
Height (in.) 55.6 56.8 -1.2
Wheelbase (in.) 105.1 112.2 -7.1
Ground Clearance (in.) 5.3 N/A
Curb weight (lbs) 3,095 to 3,148 3,589 to 3,968 -873 to -441

 

Advantage: 2020 BMW 3 Series

  •       Legit sports luxury sedan looks
  •       Even sportier M340i model
  •       Larger standard wheels

Advantage: 2020 Acura ILX

  •       Smaller and better suited for city traffic
  •       Lighter and nimbler
  •       Nearly the same features for much cheaper

Interior

Inside, the 2020 BMW 3 Series boasts a cabin one would expect from a European luxury sedan. It’s clean and free of many buttons, has a large infotainment screen, plenty of deep accents, and lots of aluminum trim. It is nothing short of incredible looking, but some buyers prefer a little liveliness to their cabins.

For the crowd looking for a little extra pizazz in the interior, the 2020 Acura ILX has it. The ILX’s cabin is far from over the top, but its dash boasts a swoopiness that almost envelopes the passenger and driver. It also has a more eye-catching center stack that includes an optional dual-screen setup, and the A-Spec model adds tons of color with its red seats, red gauges, and red cabin lighting.

As for standard features in the cabin, this is where the Bimmer’s big-time price tag makes a huge difference. The base 330i comes loaded with premium goodies like Live Cockpit Plus, a seven-channel, 205-watt audio system with 10 speakers, HD Radio, iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-inch screen, a three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 14-way power-adjustable front seats, and much more. But this all comes at a huge price of $40,750.

The Acura ILX starts at a significantly lower price of $25,900**, but it also has a much simpler standard features list. It comes standard with sport seats, a leatherette-trimmed interior, eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access system, push-button ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, a six-speaker Acura audio system, Bluetooth streaming audio, and more. Where the ILX shows its lower cost the most is its standard 5-inch color display and lack of standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

That said, buyers can move into the ILX’s range-topping A-Spec model and enjoy a fully loaded luxury sedan that is still over $9,000 cheaper than the base 3 Series.

When looking at interior roominess, the larger body and longer wheelbase of the 3 Series allows it to dominate in every key measurable, especially in rear legroom and trunk capacity.

Measurement 2020 Acura ILX 2020 BMW 3 Series Difference
Front headroom (in.) 38 38.7 -0.7
Front legroom (in.) 42.3 42 -0.3
Front shoulder room (in.) 55.6 56 -0.4
Front hip room (in.) 50.3 N/A
Rear headroom (in.) 35.9 37.6 -1.7
Rear legroom (in.) 34 35.2 -1.2
Rear shoulder room (in.) 53.6 54.6 -1
Rear hip room (in.) 51.7 N/A
Cargo room (cu.-ft.) 12.4 17 -4.6

 

Advantage: 2020 BMW 3 Series

  •       Roomier cabin and trunk
  •       Clean, European interior
  •       Loads of standard features

Advantage: 2020 Acura ILX

  •       More eye-catching interior design
  •       Load it to the gills and still save $8,000
  •       Sharp-looking A-Spec cabin

Performance

Under its hood, the 2020 BMW 3 Series comes in two varieties. The base model is the 330i, which includes a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that delivers 255 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission and to the rear wheels for a 5.6-second 0-to-60 time. Opt for all-wheel drive, and the sprint time falls to 5.3 seconds.

 

One step up is the M340i. While this is not a full-blown M model, its 3.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers a mighty 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque through an M-tuned eight-speed automatic transmission and out to the rear wheels for a 4.4-second 0-to-60 time. Pony up the extra bucks for all-wheel drive, and this sprint time falls to just 4.1 seconds.

 

The 2020 Acura ILX has a simpler powertrain that includes a 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine that pairs with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The power flows through to the front wheels for a 6.8-second 0-to-60 time.

 

The ILX is a competent handler in the twisty stuff, but Bimmer is known for its incredible handling, even in base models. The gap grows between the 3 Series and the ILX when considering the M340i and its upgraded chassis.

 

2020 Acura ILX 2020 BMW 3 Series Difference
Standard engine 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cyl 2.0-liter turbo 4-cyl (330i)
Horsepower 201 hp at 6,800 rpm 255 hp at 5,000 to 6,500 rpm -54 hp
Torque 180 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm 294 lb-ft at 1,550 to 4,400 rpm -114
Standard transmission 8-spd dual-clutch 8-speed automatic
Optional transmission N/A N/A
Driveline FWD RWD (std)/AWD (opt)
0-60 time 6.8 seconds 5.3 (AWD)/5.6 seconds (RWD) +1.5/+1.2 seconds
MPG City 24 mpg* 25 to 26 mpg -2 to -1 mpg
MPG Highway 34 mpg* 34 to 36 mpg -2 to +0 mpg
MPG Combined 28 mpg* 28 to 30 mpg -2 to +0 mpg
Optional engine 3.0-liter turbo 6-cyl (M340i)
Horsepower 382 hp at 5,800 to 6,500 rpm -181 hp
Torque 369 lb-ft at 1,800 to 5,000 rpm -189 lb-ft
Transmission 8-spd automatic
Driveline RWD (std)/AWD (opt)
0-60 time 4.1 seconds (AWD)/4.4 seconds (RWD) +2.7/+2.3 seconds
MPG City 22 mpg +2 mpg
MPG Highway 30 mpg +4 mpg
MPG Combined 25 mpg +3 mpg

 

Advantage: 2020 BMW 3 Series

  •       Huge performance numbers
  •       Great in the corners
  •       Amazing base-level fuel economy

Advantage: 2020 Acura ILX

  •       Slick dual-clutch transmission
  •       Smooth non-turbo acceleration
  •       Backed by Honda reliability

Pricing and Features

The 2020 BMW 3 Series comes in four flavors – 330i, 330i xDrive, M340i, and M340i xDrive – and its starting MSRPs range from $40,740 to $56,000.

The 2020 ILX has a standard model and three packages – Premium, Technology, and A-Spec – that act as trim levels. Starting prices for the 2020 ILX range from $25,900 to $31,650, which means you can pick up the top-of-the-line ILX for $9,090 less than the base 3 Series. Talk about a great value.

2020 BMW 3 Series Key Features and Pricing by Trim

330i: $40,750

  •       2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine
  •       Eight-speed automatic transmission
  •       Rear-wheel drive
  •       Auto engine stop/start
  •       Brake-fade compensation
  •       18-inch V Spoke bi-color Orbit Gray wheels
  •       LED headlights
  •       Shadowline exterior trim
  •       Chrome line exterior trim
  •       Power-folding, heated outside mirrors
  •       Apple CarPlay with one-year trial
  •       USB audio connection
  •       Bluetooth connectivity
  •       Live Cockpit Plus
  •       Seven-channel, 205-watt audio system with 10 speakers
  •       HD Radio
  •       iDrive infotainment system
  •       8.8-inch infotainment screen
  •       Three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Push-button ignition
  •       40/20/40 split-folding rear seat
  •       Three-zone automatic climate control
  •       Front-seat center armrest
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  •       Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  •       Universal garage-door opener
  •       14-way power-adjustable front seats
  •       Memory for temperature setting, seat position mirrors, and radio presets
  •       Power moonroof
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       Power windows with one-touch up/down operation
  •       Rearview camera
  •       Adaptive cruise control
  •       Forward collision warning
  •       Automatic emergency braking
  •       Lane-departure warning
  •       Post-crash automatic notification

330i xDrive: $42,750

  •       All 330i features, plus
  •       All-wheel drive

M340i: $54,000

  •       All 330i features, plus
  •       3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine
  •       M Sport rear differential
  •       Eight-speed sport transmission
  •       Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ driving modes
  •       Stiffer front springs
  •       High-performance, lightweight disc brakes
  •       M Sport Brakes
  •       Variable sport steering
  •       Extra lightweight chassis components
  •       Upgraded rear shocks
  •       Enhance power steering
  •       M Sport Suspension
  •       Staggered 18-inch M double-spoke bi-color Orbit Grey wheels
  •       Performance run-flat tires
  •       LED headlights with cornering lights
  •       Aerodynamic kit
  •       Power-folding outside mirrors
  •       M rear spoiler
  •       Hands-free trunk opening
  •       14-way power-adjustable front sport seats
  •       Anthracite headliner
  •       M footrest
  •       M door-sill finishers
  •       Leatherette upholstery
  •       Aluminum Tetragon interior trim
  •       SiriusXM with 1-year trial
  •       12.5-inch digital instrument cluster
  •       10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen
  •       iDrive 7.0 infotainment system
  •       Head-up display
  •       Navigation
  •       Universal garage door opener

M340i xDrive: $56,000

  •       All M340i features, plus
  •       All-wheel drive

2020 Acura ILX Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Standard: $25,900**

  •       2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine
  •       Eight-speed dual-clutch transmission
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       Electric power steering
  •       17-inch Glitter Silver machine-finished alloy wheels
  •       Power moonroof
  •       Remote-operated power moonroof
  •       Jewel Eye LED headlights with auto-on/off
  •       LED taillights
  •       LED daytime running lights
  •       Heated side-view mirrors
  •       Chrome exhaust outlets
  •       Acoustic laminated windshield
  •       Sport seats with leatherette-trimmed interior
  •       Eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Fold-down rear seatback
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Keyless access system
  •       Keyless unlock
  •       Push-button ignition
  •       Power windows with one-touch up/down front windows
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Leather-wrapped shift knob
  •       Six-speaker Acura audio system
  •       Bluetooth streaming audio
  •       USB audio interface
  •       MP3 Pandora compatibility
  •       Siri Eyes Free
  •       SMS text messaging capability
  •       5-inch color display
  •       Color multi-information display
  •       Compass
  •       Automatic emergency braking
  •       Road-departure mitigation
  •       Adaptive cruise control
  •       Lane-keep assist
  •       Forward collision warning
  •       Lane-departure warning
  •       Multi-view rearview camera
  •       Brake Assist
  •       Hill-start assist

Premium: $27,750**

  •       All Standard features
  •       17-inch Pewter Gray Metallic machine-finished Y-spoke wheels
  •       Perforated Milano leather-trimmed interior with contrast stitching and piping
  •       Two-position memory for driver’s seat and mirrors
  •       Four-way power passenger’s seat with power lumbar
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  •       Seven-speaker Acura Premium audio system
  •       SiriusXM
  •       HD Radio
  •       Apple CarPlay
  •       Android Auto
  •       Email capability
  •       On Demand Multi-Use Display 2.0
  •       8-inch LED touchscreen
  •       HomeLink
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert

Technology: $29,650**

  •       All Premium features, plus
  •       GPS-linked climate control
  •       10-speaker Acura/ELS premium audio system
  •       Song by Voice
  •       Navigation with 3D view
  •       AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with street and freeway conditions
  •       Traffic Rerouting
  •       Color multi-information display with turn-by-turn guidance
  •       AcuraLink Connected Services
  •       Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

A-Spec: $29,750 (w/ Premium Package)/$31,650 (w/ Technology Package)**

  •       All Premium or Technology features, plus
  •       18-inch Shark Gray 15-spoke wheels
  •       Dark chrome and lighting details
  •       LED fog lights
  •       Dark chrome accents
  •       Piano-black rear spoiler
  •       Piano-black rear diffuser
  •       Side underbody spoilers
  •       Sport A-Spec seats
  •       Perforated Milano premium leather and Ultrasuede-trimmed interior
  •       Contrast stitching and piping
  •       Leather-wrapped A-Spec steering wheel
  •       Graphite and chrome dash trim
  •       A-Spec-exclusive red instrument panel lighting
  •       Ebony headliner
  •       Ebony headliner
  •       Stainless steel sport pedals

Who Should Buy the 2020 BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is an icon in the luxury car space, but its price has steadily ballooned over the decades. This makes it a great option for buyers who only want the best and don’t have much concern about pricing. It’s fast. It’s beautiful. It’s luxurious. It’s expensive.

Who Should Buy the 2020 Acura ILX

The 2020 ILX is a great luxury sedan, and its lower pricing makes it the perfect buy for someone just getting into the luxury car space. For $30,000, the ILX is a lot of car and fits a tighter budget with ease. The ILX is also an excellent option for a buyer who doesn’t want to blend in with the zillion other 3 Series models on the roads.

Is the 2020 ILX the right luxury sedan for you? Swing by Acura of Rochester serving Rochester, Pittsford, Fairport, and the surrounding areas today for a test drive to find out. A little too busy to make it in today?  Navigate to our online inventory, pick a few in-stock ILX models that suit your needs and schedule a time to test drive that fits your life.

**Prices shown are Acura suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license or destination and handling charge. Destination & Handling charge is $995 for sedans and $995 for SUVs. Acura vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Dealers set their own prices. Please consult your selected dealer.

*Based on 2020 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only) and other factors.