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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 diesel 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 (front for the Alfa Romeo and rear in the case of the BMW). The first one has a FIAT-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 8-valves 115hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 136hp engine designed by BMW.Safety
The fact that the BMW got tested by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), while the other contender didn't, offers a slight advantage, as the 4-star rating is better than none. 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 it doesn't do much to help us decide between the two. On the other hand, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, the German car offers a marginal difference of 7% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that BMW 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 Alfa Romeo with an average rating of 4.2, and models under the BMW badge with 4.3 out of 5. Some independent research have also placed 156 as average reliability-wise, and 3 Series 11% below the first one. We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as the Italian car rank it on average as 3.8, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.4 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
BMW is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.6 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 207 kilometers per hour, 19km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 5.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (49 mpg), in combined cycle.
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 German car beats the other contender by far, making it the best choice without even considering other things. It all continues in the same direction, with BMW offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but BMW. Anyway, that's the most objective conclusion I could've came up with and it's based solely on the information found on this website. Aspects such as design, practicality, brand value and driving experience are there for you to measure them out. 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 thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.