In the world of luxury automobiles, the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 are typically battling for the top spots in the sedan market. There are pros and cons to both of them. To see how they actually stack up against each other, let’s look into all the expert reviews from Edmunds, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, and Motor Trend; then we’ll break them down into sections and let you, the consumer, decide who gets the nod as the top entry-level luxury sedan.

Powertrain: The A4 offers better fuel efficiency from its 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, but the 3 Series’ 3.0L V6 is slightly more powerful, hammering out 230 horses, compared to 200 from the A4. Both models come with a six-speed manual transmissions and the availability of a six-speed automatic. Acceleration is almost dead even with the A4 cruising to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and the 3 series coming in at 6.4. Both have available AWD but the 3 Series offers a turbo-diesel model to help up your gas mileage.

Winner: BMW 3 Series

Braking/Safety: Both models come standard with antilock brakes, stability control and front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags. However, the A4 scored five stars across the board in all government crash tests while the 3 Series came up shy with only four stars in frontal collision tests. Both received a rating of Good from the IIHS but braking on the A4 from 60 mph came to an astoundingly short 103 feet.

Winner: Audi A4

Cargo: The trunk in the A4 sedan is a whopping 16.9 cubic feet. More than enough space for hauling just about anything a sedan could haul. The 3 Series sedan is only average in trunk space but the wagon is phenomenal, extending the cargo area to 61 cubic feet, compared to just 51 cubes with the A4 wagon. This one really depends on which body style you decide is best for your needs.

Winner: Tie

Comfort: The A4’s cabin is its high point. It’s roomy, conveniently arranged, and very upscale. The 3 Series hasn’t changed much from previous models, so anyone who has seen a 3 Series Beamer from the past ten years will recognize the cabin of the new models. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. The seats are roomy and supportive and the Sport package’s only improve on that. However, rear seats in the BMW can be somewhat cramped for taller passengers as the roof slope interferes with headroom.

Winner: Audi A4

Amenities/Options: Granted, they are both luxury sedans. As such, it only makes sense that they are both luxurious. This category needs to go deeper and find out which model is the most user-friendly. Both offer such luxuries as Bluetooth, a premium sound system, bi-xenon headlamps, climate control, sunroof, and power leather seats. Some of the differences lie in the A4’s rain-sensing wipers and the 3 Series’ auto-dimming mirrors. The 3 Series does offer the option of a hard-top convertible, which could appeal to drivers in warmer climates. Both offer a navigation/driver control system; Audi’s being the Multi-Media Interface (MMI) and BMW going with the iDrive. The MMI’s controls can be burdensome in navigation-less sedans and wagons and improvements on the iDrive system in recent years has made it more user-friendly and accessible.

Winner: 3 Series

Value for the $: MSRP on the A4 is $31,450 while the 3 Series is only slightly above that at $33,150. The 3 Series offers several more trim options, 13 total across the four different body styles, but those options can raise the MSRP to a whopping $51,200 for the convertible 335i. The highest MSRP you’ll see on an A4 is $35,350 for the Wagon. However, the wagon comes in only one trim and the sedan offers three, that’s the limit of the choices you get from the A4.

Winner: This one all depends on you. Do you prefer a bevy of choices where price is no object? Or, are you happy with a lower price and less decision making? Both models have their flaws, as all cars do, and in the end, it’s all going to come down where you want to give a little and where you want your luxury.

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