What will they cost?
When buying outright with cash, the Alfa Romeo Giulia looks the cheapest on list price by some margin. However, it’s worth haggling for a discount at the Audi and BMW dealerships because doing so swaps the order; the BMW 3 Series becomes the cheapest, followed by the Audi A4, leaving the Giulia as the most expensive choice.
The executive class is ruled by CO2 emissions, though, because they largely determine how much company car tax you’ll pay. Here, discounts don’t count and the Giulia’s lower list price and low emissions make it the cheapest for a 40% taxpayer to run over three years. It will cost around £800 less than the A4 and £1600 less than the 3 Series in salary sacrifices.
Private buyers opting to take out finance will find the A4 cheapest. Put down a £5000 deposit on a three-year PCP deal, with an annual mileage of 10,000, and the A4 will cost you £360 a month, compared with £381 for the 3 Series and £406 for the Giulia.
All three cars come with alloy wheels, climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, a leather steering wheel, keyless start, electric mirrors, cruise control and rear parking sensors as standard. The Giulia adds half leather seats to that list, while the A4 gains standard xenon headlights, front parking sensors and comes with two free colour choices (black and white), compared with just one on the Giulia (red) and 3 Series (white).
Each car comes with an alarm and engine immobiliser, as well as tyre pressure monitoring and six airbags; you can also add rear side airbags to the A4 for a small fee. However, the 3 Series loses points because it is the only car not to get automatic emergency braking technology as standard.
Euro NCAP awarded all three cars the maximum five stars for safety, but the finer detail reveals the Giulia scored highest for its adult protection and the 3 Series did best in its child and pedestrian assessment. Meanwhile, Thatcham gave all three cars maximum marks for resisting being driven away and an equally good score for resisting being broken into.
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