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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 116hp 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, 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, 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, all the models observed together. These are the official statistics, 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. That apart, owners of different cars powered by the same engine as the Italian car rank it on average as 3.8, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 5.0 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 191 kilometers per hour, 13km/h less than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 5.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (50 mpg), in combined cycle.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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