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?...

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Alex Robbins
05 August 2017

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.

Used test: Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

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.

Used test: Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

Both cars will cost you just £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.


Used test: Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series