For decades, the BMW 3 Series has been the leader of its segment. It’s always been the car that every other brand used as the benchmark for their sport sedans in the segment. However, in the past couple of years, the 3 Series has gained so many great competitors that it’s no longer looked at as the benchmark. In fact, we’re hearing that BMW is looking at another car as the benchmark for its next-gen G20 3 Series.

This current-gen F30 BMW 3 Series was considered the best car in its class by far when it first debuted back in 2012. But that was six years ago and so many fantastic cars have debuted since. Cars such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Cadillac ATS and Jaguar XE. However, according to Autocar, one new competitor has caught BMW’s eye and is the car the Bavarians most want to target with the new G20 3 Series. That car is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Ten years ago, the idea of BMW chasing Mercedes-Benz in this segment would be almost laughable. However, the new C-Class is nothing short of excellent and, more importantly, it sells like crazy. And it seems BMW wants in on that action. So it’s designing its next 3 Series to best the new C-Class.

Apparently, that means better ride comfort and luxury, while also maintaining the nameplate’s famous handling. Per Autocar: “BMW is pulling out all the stops to ensure the new 3 Series, which goes under the internal codename G20, possesses the stylistic appeal, performance credentials, dynamic ability and overall technical prowess it needs to claw back the gains made by its keenest executive class rivals, most notably the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which officials have described to Autocar as the clear benchmark.”

The new C-Class isn’t the most dynamic of sports/luxury sedans but it’s very nice to drive and it’s stylish and comfortable. So BMW is trying to emulate that a bit with the new 3 Series.

That might sound a bit disappointing to BMW fans but fret not. If you look back on classic 3ers, most specifically the E46 generation, they had a perfect blend of composure and comfort. So the idea of the new 3 Series being a bit more comfortable isn’t really unusual. With quality suspension tuning, you can have a car that’s both comfortable and composed. You can also have that without multiple suspension modes, like the aforementioned E46. Do that again, BMW, make one suspension setting that’s just right.

Also, the fact that the new 3 Series is going to be a bit more comfortable and stylish is also a good thing. Remember, the 3er is supposed to be a daily-driven premium sport sedan, not a hardcore sports car, so style and comfort are just as important as driving dynamics.

Let’s just hope that BMW can beat the new C-Class out in the segment. The fact that BMW is targeting it, though, proves how far the 3 Series has fallen from the front of the pack.

[Source: Autocar]