Test Giulia, A4 and 3 series: they are not cheap, so you can expect something in return

Fast sporty sedans don’t come cheap. The prices of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 280 AWD, the Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro and the BMW 330i xDrive fluctuate between 57 and 65 thousand euros. And then you have not yet ordered an additional option. If you choose a few tasty options – that take the driving characteristics of the three test cars to a higher level – then count on amounts that quickly add up to 70,000 euros. If you opt for the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce Ti (with electrically adjustable sports seats and 19-inch light alloy) and have it built from a Performance Pack with a mechanical limited slip differential and adaptive shock absorbers, you are even close to 75,000 euros. When you pay that much money, you want to get something back. We take a closer look at all three test cars.


The Alfa Romeo is all about the driver

More than a year ago, the Alfa Romeo Giulia underwent a major upgrade. The interior in particular has benefited from this: the finish and the quality of the materials used are close to that of the Audi and BMW. Of course nothing could be done about the relatively tight interior; the wide center tunnel forces you instinctively towards the door, giving you limited elbow room.

In sports cars it is mainly about the driver; in the backseat, the passengers do indeed come off badly. With a capacity of 480 liters, the trunk offers space for more than just racing overalls and a helmet. As far as we are concerned, Alfa Romeo could have sacrificed a few liters for better sound insulation: the decibel meter responds enthusiastically to the volume of the driving noises.



Equipped with the 280 hp engine, the Giulia is available as Veloce and Veloce Ti, in which the sportiness is even more pronounced. You are expected to compromise on comfort. Even in its smoothest program, the adaptive shock absorption reacts very hard to bumps in the asphalt. Nice on a winding road, but on the highway very tiring in the long run.


The Audi likes to please everyone

Audi is a proud leader in terms of finish and build quality. As soon as you have stepped into the A4, the solidity radiates towards you. In the front you have plenty of space, in the back, however, the legroom is not about, but the Audi tries to make up for that with a pleasantly sitting back seat.

Our test car was delivered with the sporty S Edition package, which includes 18-inch light alloy, a lowered suspension, sports seats, MMI Navigation Plus and a TFT instrumentation. The adaptive damped chassis is a separate option. Despite the additional sportiness, the A4 does not go through in its stiffness. The selection button of the comfort program does what it promises.



However, the sporty driver will step out of the Audi A4 somewhat disappointed. Where you add comfort, you have to sacrifice sharpness. The fact that the A4 has the best brakes is not only an advantage in terms of sports, but also a particularly comfortable idea when you go out with your partner and children.


The BMW offers plenty of space, also in terms of sporty options

In the past, BMWs were downright tight, in the back of a 3-series no person could sit properly. That is now a completely different story: BMW has realized that it is not just about the driver. In the current 3-series you are even more spacious in the back than in a 5-series from a few generations ago.

Previously, we could sometimes catch BMWs with carelessness in the finish, but that is definitely no longer the case with the current 3-series. In fact, BMW even manages to beat Audi on this part. The noise comfort on board the 3-series is also excellent, even though our test car is fitted with wider, sportier low-profile tires than standard.



If sportiness is sacred to you, you can have the 3 Series equipped with numerous sporting options – of which our test car is an example. The adaptive shock absorbers are specifically tailored to a sporty driving style, the chassis has been lowered, the car is on 19-inch light alloy, relatively narrow sports seats have been lugged in and the steering has a variable ratio. Comfort clearly suffers from this: the BMW reacts roughly to seams and ridges in the road surface.


Conclusion

If you want a mid-range sedan with a lot of luxury, then you are in the right place in all three test cars. That is also possible, for the much money you pay for them. If you are looking for a car that also has a lot of comfort to offer, then you are probably best off with the Audi A4. In the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the BMW 330i, the configuration is focused too much on sportiness, so that you sacrifice flexibility and tranquility.

Curious about the full test from Auto Review 5/2021, but don’t feel like going out? Order Auto Review 5 in our webshop.

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