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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 Audi and rear in the case of the BMW). The first one has a Volkswagen-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 155hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 184hp 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, still it doesn't help us solve our dilemma, does it? On the other hand, when it comes to weight, a factor that most people underestimate, 3 Series offers a marginal difference of 1% more metal.Reliability
Manufacturers have been building their reliability reputation for decades now and, generally speaking, it appears that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, all the models observed together. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of Audi with an average rating of 4.1, and models under the BMW badge with 4.3 out of 5. Some independent research have also placed 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
BMW is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 1.6 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 227 kilometers per hour, 6km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 6.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (42 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 slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. It all continues in the same direction, with BMW being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but BMW. Nevertheless, let's not forget that people have different preferences and needs, so what really counts is your personal feel. I'm only here to help. Also, you could use the oportunity to find out which car, everything taken into account, would be the perfect choice for you in the eyes of the virtual adviser™, out of 12.000+ vehicles we currently have in our database.