Can the Audi A4 push the BMW 3 Series all the way?
The luxury saloon market is dominated by the key premium German manufacturers. The compact-executive segment remains the largest market and is where the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 have been at the top of the class for a long time; toiling tirelessly against each other and the Mercedes C-Class for top spot. In order to conquer the mass share of the market a compact-exec saloon must offer bold styling, expert dynamics and decent economical returns to be both suited to long haul business trips and quick head-turning bursts through winding country roads. The Audi A4 has been a worthy rival to the 3 Series, but has it ever had the qualities to usurp its rival to be the very best?
Style and Image
Stoic is the best way to describe both the 3 Series and the Audi A4. There are no surprises on either model just neat, sleek and athletic bodywork; however there is more of a sculptured feel to the BMW. You wouldn't kick either out of bed, but neither would you be dying to get them back to your hotel room. It all comes down to the badges and the weight they carry in the industrial estate. With that being the main consideration then the BMW has the nod, however the Audi is a good-looking underdog that sways a good number of both fleet and private buyers.
Interior quality and practicality
This is an important test for the Audi A4 as it looks to live up to
its billing as the German king of refinement. It is the leader in this department and for good reason; with swathes of plush materials, excellent connectivity and an attention to detail that no other car maker can live with. The BMW 3 Series is also hugely impressive, but as with all premium things the extra added touch really does go a long way. Space in the back of both is adequate, but nothing more so and that is due to the fact that in both the A4 and 3-Series the cockpit is the priority and the Audi A4 just pips the BMW for being an all-round stunning place to be.
Drive, performance and economy
Compact executive cars must be all things to all men in how they
drive. Long distance cruisers for the majority of the day must come alive when given the opportunity to let their hair down in the corners of a meandering country road. To be frank, the BMW is a dynamic saloon of epic proportions and has been at the top of its class for drive for a long time. You'd not expect the Audi A4 to quite live with the 3 Series for character and in truth it doesn't; but it is a thoroughly decent drive. Both deliver performance and economy in equal measure as any long distance compact exec saloon has to and again it is the BMW 3 Series that outperforms its rival.
The BMW 3 Series is still clearly king of the compact executive market, but the Audi A4 remains a tempting alternative particularly if you are considering a used car and take in to account the slightly lower prices of a used Audi. There are excellent offers to finance cars like these on specialist used car finance so whether you buy the Audi or BMW you will not be disappointed.
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