Head to Head: BMW 330i vs Audi A4 2.0 TFSI sport quattro
Along the lines of: Not so long ago, a BMW or an Audi meant you were minted. Now, both of those companies sell cars at prices you’d never have dreamt of. Despite the arrival of premium SUVs and hatchbacks, two cars still form the mainstay of their ranges – the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series.
2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Sport Quattro
Price From $69,900+ORC Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power 185kW Torque 370Nm Transmission seven-speed Stronic Drive quattro all-wheel drive Body 4726mm (L); 1842mm (W); 1427mm (H); 2820mm (WB) Weight 1510kg Spare None Fuel Tank 58 litres Thirst 6.3L/100km combined
2017 BMW 330i
Price From $69,900+ORC Warranty three years, 150,000km Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power 185kW Torque 350Nm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive rear-wheel drive Body 4633mm (L); 1811mm (W); 1429mm (H); 2810mm (WB) Weight 1495kg Spare None Fuel Tank 60 litres Thirst 5.8L/100km
What are we testing?
Audi’s A4 got a mahoosive update in 2016, sending the old-as-the-hills B8 A4 back to its maker and replacing it with the “it is actually a B9, look closely” A4. The A4 ranges starts with a $55,500 1.4-litre front-wheel drive petrol while the top of the normal range is the 2.0 sport quattro for $66,900 (diesel) or $69,900 (petrol). The top-seller is, amazingly, the 2.0 TFSI quattro petrol, powered by a 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder driving all four wheels through a seven-speed twin-clutch, the A4 is gunning hard for Munich’s mainstay. The B9 is all-new inside and out and a gigantic improvement over the old car, which was never bad, just felt old.
The 3 Series as we know it has been around for a few years now, with regular annual updates to spec and the usual mid-life re-jig (known as LCI, or lifecycle impulse) gifting us with the 330i, (replacing the 328i), a hybrid and a three-cylinder. The range stretches from a 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder at $57,300, all the way up to a turbocharged 3.0-litre six cylinder ripping out 240kW and 450Nm. Every one of the 3 Series range is rear wheel drive.
The top-seller is the aforementioned 330i. Like Audi’s bestseller, the bonnet hides a 2.0-litre four cylinder producing (checks notes) 185kW/350Nm…hmmm….they seem the same. But they’re not, because the BMW sends power to the rear wheels via a ZF eight-speed. What’s more, you can have a six-speed manual as a no-cost option. Most 330i buyers spend the extra bucks on the M Sport, which weighs in at $72,900, $2000 more than the “basic” 330i’s $70,900. It’s also worth noting for about the same price, you can have the plug-in hybrid 330e with around 30km of electric-only range.
So there’s a lot more choice in the 3 Series range, a win to BMW, despite the A4 1.4 coming in a bit cheaper than the 318i.