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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 (front for the Alfa Romeo and rear in the case of the BMW). The first one has a Alfa Romeo-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 185hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 177hp engine designed by BMW.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 same number of safety stars gained in the process. 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. Furthermore, when it comes to weight, a factor that most people underestimate, the Italian car offers a considerable difference of 11% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that BMW does have a slight advantage, at least on all of the models level. 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. Independent research findings rank 159 as average reliability-wise, and 3 Series is more or less at the same level.That apart, owners of different cars powered by the same engine as the Italian car rank it on average as 4.5, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 3.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
BMW is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.7 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 225 kilometers per hour, 3km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 9.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (31 mpg), in combined cycle.
Alfa Romeo 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 Italian car offers significantly better overall protection, taking the lead here. From there things take a different direction, with BMW offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! At the end, as much as I'd like to give you a winner here, it's simply a pure tie if you ask me. 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. 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.