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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by petrol engines and utilizing the 5-door wagon body style within the same 'Large family car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (front for the SAAB and rear in the case of the BMW). The first one has a Opel-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 250hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 231hp engine designed by BMW.Safety
A starting point here would be to take a look at the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests which were performed on both of the cars, with the SAAB being a slightly better choice apparently. That aside, let's consider some other aspects which affect safety. Both vehicles belong to the large family car segment, which is generally a good thing safety-wise, still it doesn't help us solve our dilemma, does it? Furthermore, when it comes to weight, a factor that most people underestimate, the Swedish car offers a marginal difference of 5% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that SAAB does have a slight advantage, when all the models are taken into account. That's the official data, while our visitors describe reliability of SAAB with an average rating of 4.1, and models under the BMW badge with 4.3 out of 5. Some independent research have also placed 9-3 30% below average, and 3 Series 19% above the first one. We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as the Swedish car rank it on average as 5.0 out of 5, exactly the same as the other one.Performance & Fuel economy
BMW is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.2 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 250 kilometers per hour, 5km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the German car, averaging around 9.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (30 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 12% difference compared to the Swedish car.
BMW appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, the Swedish car offers much better overall protection, which launches it ahead of the other contender. From there things take a different direction, with BMW offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! No mistake, whatever you decide here, but I'd still go for the BMW. In any case that's my personal view, built upon all the data available to me. What should decide here though is the way you feel about the two vehicles, and I hope you'll find my guidelines useful in the process. In case you have two minutes to spare I invite you to define your needs, desires and budget and see which car would be chosen by the virtual adviser™, among more than 12.000 different ones in our database.
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