New Alfa Romeo Giulia vs Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

Alfa Romeo's new Giulia saloon certainly looks the part, but is it as good to drive, easy to live with and cheap to run as the best German rivals?

Words By What Car? team

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Alfa Romeo Giulia with Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series

Our verdict

Let's cut straight to the chase: Alfa Romeo has once again failed to overcome its big-named German rivals. That said, the Giulia gets nothing like the drubbing suffered by some of Alfa’s previous efforts in this competitive class.

The Giulia’s main strength is its sharp handling, which will really put a smile on your face whenever the road gets twisty. Add to that its stunning looks, competitive pricing and a strong diesel engine that’s frugal and has low CO2 emissions, and we can genuinely understand why you might decide the Giulia is the right car for you. The trouble is, the BMW 3 Series is slightly roomier, nearly as good to drive and has a better interior. Add in its superior infotainment system and more compliant ride, and the Giulia doesn’t stack up in enough areas to gain second spot.

Beating them both is the Audi A4. In this lower-powered 3.0 TDI form it remains class leader and doesn’t feel anywhere near ready to give up its Car of the Year title, something it will have to do next month. The fact that you’re able to enjoy six-cylinder diesel performance and refinement with minimal financial penalty is extremely compelling, and the air of quality inside continues to embarrass some cars from the class above. It genuinely feels like a baby luxury limo.

True, Audi has taken a more relaxed approach with the A4’s handling, which makes it the least entertaining of our trio to drive. However, we think that’s a price worth paying, given the extremely comfortable ride you get in return.

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1st – Audi A4

For Superb refinement; strong performance; classiest interior; most comfortable ride; plenty of kit

Against Scrabbles for traction in wet; tightest here for rear space

Verdict Still the finest all-round executive car money can buy

Rated 5 out of 5

Read our full Audi A4 review

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2nd – BMW 3 Series

For Handling; rear space; best infotainment system

Against Noisiest engine; so-so interior quality

Verdict Still a great choice, just no longer the best

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full BMW 3 Series review

Find a great BMW 3 Series deal

3rd – Alfa Romeo Giulia

For Huge fun to drive; punchy engine; stylish looks

Against Low-rent interior; road noise; low-speed ride

Verdict Great fun, but there are better all-rounders

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Alfa Romeo Giulia review

Find a great Alfa Romeo Giulia deal

Also consider:

Specifications: Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2d 180 Super auto

Engine size 2.2-litre diesel

List price Β£31,950

Target Price Β£31,950

Power 178bhp @ 3750rpm

Torque 332lb ft @ 1500rpm

0-60mph 7.2sec

Top speed 143mph

True MPG 45.7mpg

Gov't fuel economy 67.3mpg

CO2 emissions 109g/km

Specifications: Audi A4 3.0 TDI 218 Sport S tronic

Engine size 3.0-litre diesel

List price Β£34,700

Target Price Β£31,309

Power 215bhp @ 4000-5000rpm

Torque 295Ib ft @ 1250-3750rpm

0-60mph 7.1sec

Top speed 155mph

True MPG 42.0mpg

Gov't fuel economy 67.3mpg

CO2 emissions 109g/km

Specifications: BMW 3 Series 320d xDrive Sport auto

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£33,460

Target Price Β£29,249

Power 187bhp @ 4000rpm

Torque 295lb ft @ 1750rpm

0-60mph 7.4sec

Top speed 145mph

True MPG n/a

Gov't fuel economy 62.8mpg

CO2 emissions 119g/km

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