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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 5-door wagon 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. That aside, let's consider some other aspects which affect safety. 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 9% 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. That's the official data, 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, 9km/h less than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 6 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (47 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. 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™, out of 12.000+ vehicles we currently have in our database.
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