Test Giulia, A4 and Series 3: Why These Fast Sedans Are Bad for Your Blood Pressure

Sporty looks, coupled with extremely dynamic driving characteristics and practical uses. In the middle class, knock on the door of Alfa Romeo, Audi or BMW, and they will be happy to sell you a classic four-door sedan that meets all these requirements.

For example, the spirited Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 280 AWD does not deny its Italian origins, while the Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro and BMW 330i xDrive elevate their typically German perfectionism to art. These are cars that not only serve as a very pleasant means of transport, but have also been developed to delight their owners. Which car makes the enthusiast’s heart beat the fastest?

A nice car starts with a nice engine. Alfa Romeo, Audi and BMW all have a reputation to uphold when it comes to sportiness and exceptional performance. The question is which car lives up to its sporty promises, and in particular: how. The Giulia, the A4 or the 3 series all have a powerful two-liter turbo engine, an automatic gearbox and electronically controlled four-wheel drive.

Alfa Romeo: as long as the ESP does not interfere with anything …

You are assured of speed if you buy one of the three test cars! The Alfa Romeo Giulia in particular makes a very decisive impression. With 280 hp, he not only trumps his German colleagues on the power bank, but also shows his muscles on the sprint. In just 5.2 counts you are on the hundred. The Alfa engine is not economical: during the test it chases a liter of petrol through it every 10.8 kilometers.

It is clear that the Giulia has been developed with driving pleasure in mind. The test car is also equipped with the Performance Pack, with adaptive shock absorbers and a limited slip differential. On the test track, the Alfa already proves in the first corner that it descends from a legendary racing lineage. His steering is razor-sharp, he does not shy away from high lateral forces. But you are getting in the way of the ESP, which unexpectedly drops the anchor resolutely early. The solution is to switch off the electronic restraint. The competition has to come from very good backgrounds to surpass the Alfa in driving pleasure.

Audi: after all, you want to come to a stop again

Compared to the Alfa, the Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro is by no means a snail. You reach the hundred in 5.4 seconds, and at 200 km / h you are behind the Italian Sedan only half a second. What you don’t have to worry about in the Audi is the fuel consumption. Of course, a good gulp of fuel has to be converted into 265 hp, but a test average of 1 to 12.7 is decent. This is partly due to the mild hybrid system that Audi installs as standard.

On the test track, the Audi is a lot more reserved than the Alfa. The steering is of the distant kind, so you automatically dive more carefully into a bend. You don’t have to be afraid of heart palpitations in the A4. Yet you do not easily lose the connection with the Giulia. This is due to its excellent brakes. For an emergency stop at 100 km / h, the A4 only needs 33.2 meters to come to a complete stop. That is half the car length earlier than the Giulia. Safety first!

BMW: pure speed is certainly not everything

The BMW 330i xDrive lags behind on power in this test group. The 330i’s two-liter four-cylinder engine has ‘only’ 258 hp to offer. On the sprint, the BMW driver must therefore recognize his superior in the Alfa and Audi driver. Yet the BMW is not in the least disappointing. In fact, the engine and eight-speed automatic transmission are perfectly matched. We think that is more important than brute power. If we look purely at the properties of the engine, we value the BMW the most. Where the low consumption (1 in 13.9) certainly helps.

The BMW that we borrowed for this test was equipped with a whole arsenal of sports aids. This allows the 330i to easily keep up with the Italian prima donna. A limited slip differential, adaptive shock absorbers with a specific sporty tuning, 19-inch wheels with extra wide rear tires, a steering with variable gearing … If you want to invest in all this, you will be overloaded with contact feeling and feedback, and the undercarriage very far away. The BMW 3-series remains the first choice for the enthusiast of a fine-handling car with emphatically sporty driving characteristics.


Pure speed and sharp steering are fun! The Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 280 AWD certainly accelerates the heartbeat. But as soon as a corner approaches, the driver of the Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro brakes you and the driver of the BMW 330i xDrive takes advantage of all the extra fun amplifiers with which he has ordered his car. It is the BMW that drives our blood pressure the highest.

Curious about the full test from Auto Review 5/2021? Don’t feel like going outside? Order Auto Review 5 in our webshop.

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