Motortrend.com Pits BMW 3-Series Against Alfa Romeo Giulia: Battle for the Best Sports Sedan Title

For a great many years, the BMW 3 Series was billed as the absolute upper end of the luxury sport sedan category. Being known for top-of-the-line handling, very punchy power, and class-leading ride steered many loyal buyers to it for decades, and the Germans “had a hailing winner” on their hands for many reasons. The knowledgeable writers on staff at Motortrend recognized last week in this feature that they took a sizable left turn with a few newer models that were lacking the precision and raw emotion that really defined the 3 Series before it, and this is where our beloved Alfa Romeo namesake continued to churn out the cars that began to be noticed for delivering where BMW had continually come up short.

 The front view of the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia parked near a group of windmills.

Now situated in its seventh generation, the 2019 BWM 330 I is facing multiple throngs of the stiffest form of competition. Motortrend is no stranger to the finer points of our craft here at Jim Butler Alfa Romeo of St Louis, as the Giulia was hailed as their “Car of the Year” for 2018. The team set out to complete in an-depth comparison, and see if the 3-Series could valiantly retake the best-driving sport sedan title from the current Alfa Romeo Giulia.

 An interior view of the steering wheel, widescreen, dashboard and center console on the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia.

They were equipped with a BMW 330i with the M Sport Package, Track handling package, Driver's assistance pro package, Premium package, and executive package. The BMW was equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo – four engine, generating 255 hp, and 295 lb-ft of torque, paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission, sending all power to the rear wheels.

 An overhead cutaway view of front and rear seats on the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia.

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q2 that was feature-rich and fitting for the day derives power from a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that cranks out 280 hp, and 306 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels with an 8-speed automatic. It came equipped and ready to rumble with the Ti sport RWD package, Driver assistance static package, Driver assist dynamic plus package, and Ti Sport performance package. Both cars brandish 19-inch wheels, paddle shifters, sport-tuned suspension, and Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto.

 

While putting the 3 Series to the test on the very twisting and hilly canyon roads near Malibu, director of testing Kim Reynolds found himself feeling nearly every rock, ripple, and bump in an odd way, although they recognized that the punchy engine definitely offered a good amount of character. The M Sport Brakes performance was appreciated, but the team encountered a few things they weren't happy about once they engaged Sport mode. The steering really stiffened up, and the exhaust's amplification seemed loud and digital. Once inside, the interior seemed a bit showy, and the team admitted that they do prefer Audi's visual cockpit over both interiors, but the Giulia's takes the cake for not being overly complicated.

 The rear view of 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia parked in an area of stone buildings and stone roads.

During extensive testing, both experts lamented “whether you are tearing through the back roads to the grocery store or gliding along the boulevards on your way home, the Alfa delivers the driving pleasure expected from a sport sedan.” The Giulia had a natural feel to it at all times, especially when in Dynamic mode. The seating in the Giulia overall provided more lateral support than what was offered from the BMW, and the dual-plane sunroof gives back-seat passengers a pleasant addition to the ride experience. What was the verdict after mulling over the key elements? Our esteemed Alfa nabbed the winning seat, and the overall sentiment that “To us, the Alf Romeo Giulia is simply a better driver's car. The Alfa is the best, most satisfying, most visceral sport sedan there is”.


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