BMW 3 Series vs Audi A4

  • We pit two heavyweights from the company car world against each other
  • One offers more kit while the other is quicker on the road
  • Find out which one we would pick

Here at Parkers we love a head-to-head challenge and there are few cars that are as well matched as these two: the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.

Hugely popular business cars here in the UK, both models offer premium luxury, a comfortable ride and a broad range of engines. Choosing between them as your next company car is no easy feat.

To help you decide, we’ve pit them against each other when it comes to performance, tax costs, practicality and kit to find out which comes out on top.

Picks of the range

Before we start we need to decide which engine and trim for both cars hit the sweet spot for keeping tax and fuel costs low while offering good value for money and keen performance out on the road.

For us, the obvious choice for the 3 Series is the 320d EfficientDynamics and the Audi A4 we'd pick is the 2-litre TDI Ultra SE Technik.


It seems like both cars are singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to boot space with the 3 Series and A4 offering 480 litres with the rear seats in place. That’s big enough for a couple of suitcases or your monthly shop at the local supermarket, and should prove easily big enough for some golf clubs or a pushchair.

Interior space is also well matched, with the 3 Series having a marginally bigger wheelbase of 2,810mm verses the A4’s 2,808mm.

There are plenty of storage options on offer too and both cars are supremely comfortable when out on the road, scoring an identical 4.5 stars in the comfort section of our full reviews.  


Striking the right balance between performance and running costs is important and BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology does just that. The car uses a variety of energy saving measures to help optimise efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.

The result is 109g/km of CO2 for the car picked here meaning a 19 percent Benefit-in-Kind tax band for the 2015/16 tax year. Fuel economy is also impressive with an official combined figure of 68.9mpg.

Despite the high figures, performance hasn’t been compromised. The 2-litre diesel engine offers 161bhp and 380Nm of torque which enables the car to accelerate from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds.

Audi’s impressive new range of Ultra diesel engines mean that the A4 matches the 3 Series for CO2 emissions and falls only slightly short on fuel economy with an official combined figure of 67.3mpg.

Despite the A4 offering the same amount of power (161bhp) and more torque than the 3 Series (400Nm), it’s not the quickest of the two with a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds. The A4 is over 100kg heavier, though.


Standard kit on the A4 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, DAB radio, 6.5-inch colour centre display, Bluetooth, Audi sound system speaker package with 10 speakers including a subwoofer, split-folding rear seats, cruise control, three-zone climate control, rear armrest, heated door mirrors, auto-opening boot lid and rear parking sensors.

Moving up to SE Technik costs just £1,000 more and for that cash you also get sat-nav, front parking sensors, leather upholstery and a voice command system – pretty impressive stuff.

The 3 Series is less generous. Standard specification includes 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, automatic air-con, DAB Radio, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and rain sensors and cruise control. There are a range of options on offer which you can pick to get sat-nav, leather interior and upgraded wheels included on your car, but they can be pretty pricey.



BMW 320d EfficientDynamics

Audi A4 SE Technik

P11d price



2015/16 Monthly tax*



2016/17 Monthly tax*



2017/18 Monthly tax*



Winner – BMW 3 series

A very tightly fought battle, but we are big fans of the 3 Series here at Parkers and think it offers the best all-round package, scoring the maximum five stars in our full review verses the A4 which we gave 4.5 stars. Bear in mind though that if you’re after value for money, the A4 offers more kit as standard so you'll need less optional extras, even if it's a little more expensive to tax every month. 

To read our full review of the BMW 3 series saloon, click here.

To read our full review of the Audi A4 saloon, click here.

*Monthly tax costs are based on a 40 percent payer