Fleet Car Comparison: Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

2015 Audi A4 3.0 TDI quattro

In the UK, company fleet cars are incredibly popular. Two of the very most popular are the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Always have been, always will be. So figuring out which is best is genuinely good consumer advice. However, doing so can be tricky, considering how good each car is and how similarly matched they are. But iNews gave it a go anyway and here’s what they’ve come up with.

Because these two cars are most commonly leased with small diesel engines, that’s what was compared. So it was the Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 S-Tronic versus the BMW 320 M Sport Auto. Should be an interesting match-up, then.

Under the hood of the Audi is a very familiar 2.0 liter turbocharged four-pot diesel. It makes, you guessed it, 190 hp (188 bhp) and 295 lb-ft of torque. That little diesel engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and, in this test, powers the front wheels. As for the Bimmer, it’s 2.0 liter turbo-four diesel makes 190 hp (188 bhp) and 295 lb-ft of torque. But its engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels. As for performance, the Audi A4 is only a tick quicker, getting from 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds. It takes the BMW 3 Series 8.0 seconds on the nose. So power and performance are basically deadlocked.

But people don’t buy these cars with little diesel engines for their performance. They buy them for fuel economy and luxury. On the very generous EU Cycle, the Audi A4 gets 67.3mpg while the BMW gets 64.2. So a solid victory for the Audi. As for luxury, the Audi A4 wins again with a far sharper looking cabin and better materials. While both cars have brilliant infotainment systems, both have their reasons for superiority. BMW’s iDrive is more intuitive but Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is a ultra slick. Both have great interior space, back seats and cargo space. So aside from the Audi A4’s sharper design, both are fantastic cars to spend time in.

When it comes to actual driving, the BMW 3 Series is considered the sportier car to drive. Though its Servtronic steering can be a bit annoying, it’s still the more engaging car to drive. It’s not that the Audi A4 is bad, it’s just that its front-drive nature spoils it. Trust me, always go Quattro. Having driven these cars back-to-back myself, I can personally attest to the fact that they’re closer in dynamics that most people will admit. In fact, the A4 rides better when both cars have adaptive dampers. In this test, the Audi did not and the BMW did, so the latter car’s Comfort setting made it better for cruising.

In the end, though, iNews gives the win to the Audi A4. Both cars are so evenly matched so the fact that the A4 is better on fuel, even if just slightly, and has a nicer interior means it’s the winner here, even if the 3 Series is a touch sportier.