What are they like inside?
Performance and handling may be paramount here, but the fact that these two sports saloons concede very little space and practicality compared with their regular diesel counterparts is deeply impressive.
The Giulia has more head and leg room in the front, but two tall adults will find front seat space in either car suitably generous. We haven’t tried the Giulia’s standard front sports seats yet, but the £2950 carbonfibre-backed Sparco bucket seats (fitted to our test car) provide superb support and generous adjustment. The Giulia’s plentiful steering wheel adjustment and well-positioned pedals mean most drivers will be able to find their ideal driving position.
The M3's standard sports seats are fully electrically adjustable, so it’s even easier to set everything up just how you want it. These are almost as brilliant as the Giulia’s seats at holding you in corners, and there’s an equally generous amount of steering wheel adjustment to keep drivers of all sizes happy.
The Giulia’s rear seats are slightly more accommodating than the M3’s, though, with better head room and similarly good leg room. However, although the Giulia’s boot is the same size as the M3’s, it’s shorter and shallower, and Alfa Romeo doesn’t even offer split-folding rear seats as an option; the M3’s split 60/40 as standard.
BMW has Alfa Romeo beaten for infotainment, too, with the latest version of its iDrive system being one of the best on the market. Its high-resolution 8.8in screen and logical and user-friendly rotary dial controller impress, but its logical menus are what make it so simple to use. The Giulia’s system is controlled in a similar manner, but its menus are more confusing and the screen is just 7.0in. It does get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, though, whereas BMW charges extra for these features.
Even with its standard leather-covered dashboard and plenty of carbonfibre trim, the Giulia can’t match the M3’s plusher interior, more solid-feeling controls and altogether better build quality.
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