2020 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs. 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 3 Series Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Giulia doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Giulia doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Giulia only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The 3 Series Sedan has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Giulia doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the Giulia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 3 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Giulia has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the Giulia’s (12 vs. 4 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Alfa Romeo only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Giulia.

There are almost 2 times as many BMW dealers as there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 20th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.

Engine

The M340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. produces 102 more horsepower (382 vs. 280) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 306) than the Giulia’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the 330i is faster than the Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0T:

3 Series

Giulia

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

5.7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8.6 sec

9.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

14.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

6.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.9 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

99 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

149 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Giulia:

MPG

3 Series Sedan

RWD

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

AWD

330i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

M340i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Giulia

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/33 hwy

Quadrifoglio 2.9 turbo V6

17 city/24 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Giulia doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

The 3 Series Sedan’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Giulia doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M340i’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Giulia:

M340i

Giulia

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

12.5 inches

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Giulia are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the Giulia:

3 Series Sedan

Giulia

70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The 330i’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Giulia’s standard 50 series tires. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 225/35R20 front and 255/30R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the Giulia Ti’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330i has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Giulia. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Giulia Ti.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Giulia (112.2 inches vs. 111 inches).

The 330i xDrive handles at .89 G’s, while the Giulia Ti Q4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The front grille of the 3 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Giulia doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The 3 Series Sedan has .1 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the Giulia.

Cargo Capacity

The 3 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the Giulia (13 vs. 12 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 3 Series offers cargo security. The Giulia’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 3 Series Sedan offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Giulia doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Ergonomics

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Giulia doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the 3 Series Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Giulia can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

When the 3 Series Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Giulia’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 3 Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Giulia doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Giulia doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW 3 Series comes in sedan, four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Alfa Romeo Giulia isn’t available as a four door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Alfa Romeo Giulia by almost four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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