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Dimensons & Volumes
Performance (manual gearbox)
Performance (automatic gearbox)
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 Audi and rear in the case of the BMW). The first one has a Volkswagen-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 6-cylinder, 30-valves 165hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 170hp engine designed by BMW.Safety
Both vehicles got tested by European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), with the BMW being a slightly better choice apparently. 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, but it doesn't do much to help us decide between the two. On the other hand, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, 3 Series offers a marginal difference of 8% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, at least on all of the models level. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of Audi with an average rating of 4.2, and models under the BMW badge with 4.3 out of 5. The same official information place A4 15% below average, and 3 Series 4% above the first one. Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as Audi A4 rank it on average as 4.0, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 5.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Audi is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.1 seconds less than its competitor. Still, it lacks the power to win the top speed competition, topping at 226 kilometers per hour, exactly the same as the other car does. 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.
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, 3 Series offers much better overall protection, which launches it ahead of the other contender. From there things take a different direction, with Audi offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... It's not difficult to say then that if I'd need to make a choice, it would definitely be the 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. 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™, among thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.