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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 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 Audi). The first one has a BMW-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 218hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 200hp engine designed by Volkswagen.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 BMW 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, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, Audi A4 offers a marginal difference of 1% more metal.Reliability
Manufacturers have been building their reliability reputation for decades now and, generally speaking, it appears that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, when all the models are taken into account. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of BMW with an average rating of 4.3, and models under the Audi badge with 4.2 out of 5. The same official information place 3 Series 21% below average, and A4 9% below the first one. We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as 3 Series rank it on average as 3.8, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.5 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
BMW is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.3 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 245 kilometers per hour, 4km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be Audi A4, averaging around 7.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (37 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 9% difference compared to 3 Series.
Audi 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, 3 Series offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. It all continues in the same direction, with BMW offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... No mistake, whatever you decide here, but I'd still go for the Audi. 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. I suggest you spend two more minutes in order to find out which car, based on your needs and budget, would be picked by the virtual adviser™, out of 12.000+ vehicles we currently have in our database.