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Car #1
Make
Model
Variant
Engine
Car #2
Make
Model
Variant
Engine

compare selected cars
1997. - 2003.
D - Large family car
sedan, 4 door
front
Badges
Production
Vehicle class
Body style
Wheel drive
Safety
1998. - 2001.
D - Large family car
sedan, 4 door
rear

Dimensons & Volumes

4430 mm
1745 mm
1415 mm
378 liters
378 liters
63 liters
Length
Width
Height
Boot (min)
Boot (max)
Fuel tank
4471 mm
1739 mm
1415 mm
440 liters
40 liters
63 liters

Engine

Diesel
4 - Inline, 4 valves per cylinder
Turbo
1910 cc
140 hp
305 Nm
Engine
Fuel
Configuration
Aspiration
Displacement
Power
Torque
Diesel
4 - Inline, 4 valves per cylinder
Turbo
1951 cc
136 hp
280 Nm

Performance (manual gearbox)

manual gearbox - 5 gears
1325 kg
9.5 s
203 km/h
8.9 l/100km
5.4 l/100km
6.7 l/100km
179 g/km
Gearbox type
Vehicle weight
Acc. 0-100
Top speed
Cons. (urban)
Cons. (highway)
Cons. (average)
CO2 emissions
manual gearbox - 5 gears
1375 kg
9.9 s
207 km/h
7.7 l/100km
4.5 l/100km
5.7 l/100km
152 g/km

Performance (automatic gearbox)

 
kg
s
km/h
l/100km
l/100km
l/100km
g/km
Gearbox type
Vehicle weight
Acc. 0-100
Top speed
Cons. (urban)
Cons. (highway)
Cons. (average)
CO2 emissions
automatic - 5 gears
1400 kg
10.3 s
207 km/h
9.2 l/100km
5.6 l/100km
6.9 l/100km
207 g/km

Expenses

1000 EUR
Price from
1000 EUR

Virtual Adviser's™ opinion

Overview

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, 16-valves 140hp 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. Moving further on, let's take a closer look at some additional safety-related facts. 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? On the other hand, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, the German car offers a marginal difference of 4% more metal.

Reliability

Manufacturers have been building their reliability reputation for decades now and, generally speaking, it appears that BMW does have a slight advantage, all the models observed together. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of Alfa Romeo, as well as BMW, with the same average rating of 4.2 out of 5. The same official information place 156 as average reliability-wise, and 3 Series 11% below the first one. Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine 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

Alfa Romeo is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.4 seconds less than its competitor. Still, it lacks the power to win the top speed competition, topping at 203 kilometers per hour, 4km/h less than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the German car, averaging around 5.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (50 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 18% difference compared to the Italian car.

Verdict

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. From there things take a different direction, with Alfa Romeo offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but 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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