Used test: Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

A used executive saloon brings a sharp suit and superb quality at a sensible price. But which of these two old rivals should you choose?

Words By Alex Robbins

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What will they cost?

Good deals are available on both of these cars on the used market at the moment; neither will cost you quite as much as you might think. But of the two, it’s the BMW 3 Series that has the edge on price; you’ll pay a fair chunk less to buy one than the equivalent Audi A4.

Granted, that means the A4 will hold its value slightly better proportionately, but because you’ll have spent less on the 3 Series in the first place, you’ll probably lose less in cash terms.

The 3 Series holds its own at the pumps, too, because while its official average fuel economy figure isn’t as good as the A4’s (64.2mpg versus 67.3mpg), in our experience the 3 Series actually performs better in the real world, getting far closer to its test figures.

Both cars will cost you just Β£30 a year to tax, while servicing costs should be broadly similar – although the 3 Series works out slightly cheaper on the replacement cost of some perishable parts.

And it’s the 3 Series that noses ahead in terms of reliability. While neither of these models covered itself in glory in our latest reliability survey, the 3 Series at least finished 11th out of the 24 executive cars featured – just above the class average, in other words – while the A4 came in equal 15th position.

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