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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 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 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 163hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 184hp engine designed by BMW.Safety
The first thing to look into here would be the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests performed on the two cars. Good thing is that both vehicles got tested, with the same number of safety stars gained in the process. 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 that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. 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 4% 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, when all the models are taken into account. That's the official data, 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. That apart, owners of different cars powered by the same engine as Audi A4 rank it on average as 4.2, 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 1.2 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 225 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 7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (40 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. Fuel consumption is more or less the same. I believe that, when we take all into account, we have only one winner here - 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 more than 12.000 different ones in our database.