Skip to main content

Drivers in the market for a small, luxury sedan have scant few choices left these days. Two of the more popular options are the 2023 Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Both offer a good balance of comfort and performance, but getting the right fit means doing some more digging. Here we have the pros and cons of both the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series to determine which model is the better value.

The BMW 3 Series with M Sport appearance package
The New BMW 3 Series | BMW

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series performance comparison

When you consider what comes under the hood, the scales tip toward BMW rather than Audi. The 2023 Audi A4 comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine making 201 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the new BMW 3 Series features a 2.0-liter turbo churning out 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

Driving dynamics and handling depend on what you want out of your sport-luxury sedan. The A4 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive. If you live in the northern part of the country, it’s probably the right choice for dealing with winter weather. However, the rear-wheel drive setup of the BMW 3 Series gives it the balance and feel of a true sports car. We believe that overall, this tips things slightly in favor of the Audi, but truly it’s a game of personal preference.

A silver Audi A4
Audi A4 | Audi

Fuel economy tips toward the BMW as well, but only when considered in stock form. The Audi A4 all-wheel drive setup offers 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, while the two-wheel drive BMW earns an extra mpg in each category. That said, when the 3 Series is equipped with xDrive, fuel economy is level between the two models.

Upgraded performance options

Performance options in the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 give each model more power, though the BMW adds a few more tricks in the process. The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that offers 288 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. At the same time, you gain the capability of running on electric power alone for up to 31 miles.

The Audi A4, meanwhile, offers a tuned-up version of their 2.0-liter turbo giving you 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Not only is that less power than the Bavarian compact’s upgrade, but you won’t get the hybrid capabilities, either.

Interior Space and Comfort

Interior of the Audi A4
Audi A4 Interior | Audi

When you get inside, the comparison between the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series boils down to what you value in a luxury car. If it’s premium materials you want, the real leather upholstery and wood grain trim of the Audi make it a winner. 

On the other hand, the BMW 3 Series offers more cargo space (13 cu. ft. vs 12 cu. ft.) and more front headroom (38.7” vs 37.3”) than the Audi A4.

In terms of features, the Audi starts to take a more distinct lead. The A4 comes standard with heated seats and is available with ventilated chairs, according to Edmunds. The 3 Series, however, makes even heated seats an option and has no ventilated seat package available.

The trunk of a 2023 BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series trunk space | BMW

What’s the Verdict?

Deciding between the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series truly depends on what you’re looking for. If it were our money, the A4 with the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo is the better value. It gives you more standard luxury and nearly the same level of performance, plus Quattro all-wheel drive is standard. Still, you can’t deny the fun factor of the sport-oriented BMW 3 Series. For drivers that care more about dynamics than outright comfort, that may be the model to bring home.

Comparing the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4

BMW 3 SeriesAudi A4
Base Price$42,300$39,900
Drive Type:RWD (AWD Opt.)AWD
Fuel Economy25 mpg city/34 mpg highway24 mpg city/33 mpg highway
Cargo Space13 cu. ft.12 cu. ft.
Front Headroom38.0 in37.3 in
Front Legroom42.0 in41.3 in
Rear Headroom37.6 in37.4 in
Rear Legroom35.2 in35.7 in
Related Audi A3 vs Audi A4: Comparing 2 Audi Compact Luxury Sedans

Audi A3 vs Audi A4: Comparing 2 Audi Compact Luxury Sedans