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Performance (manual gearbox)
Performance (automatic gearbox)
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 4-door sedan body style within the same 'Large family car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (rear for the BMW and front in the case of the SAAB). The first one has a BMW-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 143hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 150hp engine designed by Opel.Safety
Both vehicles got tested by European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), with the SAAB being a slightly better choice apparently. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the large family car segment, which is generally a good thing safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. On the other hand, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, the Swedish car offers a marginal difference of 8% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that SAAB does have a slight advantage, when all the models are taken into account. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of BMW with an average rating of 4.3, and models under the SAAB badge with 4.1 out of 5. Independent research findings rank 3 Series 11% below average, and 9-3 19% below the first one. Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as the German car rank it on average as 4.5, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 3.0 out of 5.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 218 kilometers per hour, 8km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the German car, averaging around 7.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (39 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 13% 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! I believe that, when we take all into account, we have only one winner here - 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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