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      12-19-2019, 10:26 AM   #1
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C&D: BMW 330i RWD vs Alfa Giulia Q2 Ti Sport

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2019 BMW 3-Series vs. 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia: Which Sports Sedan Packs More Excellence?
Two feisty compact luxury sports sedans trade blows to decide which one delivers the strongest combination of driving excitement and practicality.

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In the April, 1968 issue of Car and Driver, the magazine's founding father David E. Davis Jr. wrote, "The BMW 2002 may be the first car in history to successfully bridge the gap between the diametrically opposed automotive requirements of the wildly romantic car nut on one hand and the hyper-pragmatic people at Consumer Reports on the other."

Cut to the present and BMW and Alfa Romeo both offer highly competent, entry-level compact sport sedans—the BMW 3-series and Alfa Romeo Giulia—that address that same enthusiast's dilemma. But which car comes closest to delivering driving nirvana while satisfying the practical requirements of daily life—all at a halfway reasonable price?

The Matchup
The seventh-generation 3-series was introduced for 2019. The 330i is the volume model and entry point for the lineup, but it's by no means bereft of capability or equipment. Its standard engine is a 255-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four mated to ZF's eight-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is optional, but our example did without it. Our $59,920 test car was packed with a stout $18,675 in options, some of which are mandatory when you order the all-important $2450 Track Handling package (stouter brakes and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential). Ticking that box also requires getting the $700 adaptive dampers and the $5000 M Sport Package, which adds a number of features, but most important for performance is the set of 19-inch wheels wrapped with summer tires.

For this one-on-one test we chose the four-cylinder Giulia TI Sport, which lines up almost perfectly with the 330i. Like the Bimmer, the Alfa is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, but it shames the BMW's output by producing a hefty 280 horsepower. The Alfa's engine also asserts its power through a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic and sends it to the rear wheels. Our $52,240 test car was optioned almost as comprehensively as the 3-series. Its most important extra is the TI Sport Performance package, which adds adaptive dampers, a limited-slip differential, and 19-inch summer tires. For the 330i to match the Alfa's price, it would have to give up much of its optional equipment.

On the Road
The Alfa drives with a feathery lightness that brings to mind a ballet dancer. Its ultra-quick steering slices into corners and executes lane changes with distinct immediacy. Its ride is deftly supple over large bumps. Its engine growls quietly, pulls strongly down low, and delivers deceptively quick acceleration. It ripped to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, an impressive half-second quicker than the Bimmer. In normal driving the Giulia is a responsive, refined partner and effortless highway cruiser. The only dynamic annoyance is its electro-hydraulic brakes, which are jerky at low speeds, and the pedal feels as if a wet sponge is sitting on top of it.

But ask the Alfa to run hard on tight two-lanes, something we did with these cars for a couple hundred miles, and it can feel a little out of shape. The soft springing and damping that work so well around town allow it to bob on twisty, undulating pavement and prevent it from feeling planted and secure—even with its adjustable dampers switched to their most-aggressive Dynamic setting. The substantial degree of body movement that the soft setup provides takes some getting used to. There's not much feel or feedback from the steering, and the stability control drags the car down coming out of slow corners just when you're asking for more acceleration—and the electronic nanny can't be turned off. It's not that you can't enjoy driving the Giulia like a sports car. You certainly can. It's just that the 330i does it better—and quite differently.

Where the Alfa is friendly and frisky, the BMW is cold, hard, and focused on the job of going fast. In the real world it feels about as quick as the Alfa, and its engine absolutely sings as it zings. The firm ride provided by the Track Handling package never lets you forget that the 330i is aching to get to a fun road. And when you do, you find that its steering isn't as quick as the Alfa's, but it is every bit as precise. Sadly, steering feel, long a BMW strong point, is a distant memory here.

The rest of this BMW is solid. The 330i's brakes are strong and easy to modulate both in rush-hour traffic and when barreling into back-road hairpins. Its grip is inspiring. Our test car circled our skidpad at 0.99 g, which is enough stick to allow it to be hurled into tight turns and come steaming out the other side coolly unperturbed, shrugging off mid-corner bumps as if they weren't there. The stability control virtually never interferes, but you'll want to turn off the optional and overzealous lane-keeping feature every time you punch the start button. Better yet, don't order it in the first place.

When you get back into town, the Bimmer is easily refined enough for use as a daily commuter. The powertrain is superbly smooth, quiet, and punchy. And your kids will never complain about the ride when you're taking them to school, as long as you keep the suspension in Comfort mode.

The Inside View
The Giulia's interior is handsomely styled and assembled with decent materials. Alfa modestly freshened both the car's exterior and interior for 2020, but those models weren't available to us yet, so we made do with a 2019 model. The front seats have aggressive side bolsters that help hold you in place when cornering, but they're also comfortable enough for long drives. The rear seat, however, is cramped around the knees for six-footers. If you have to transport lanky passengers, this is not the car. With 13 cubic feet of trunk space, the Giulia also is less of a cargo ship than the 330i, which offers 17 cubic feet of cargo room. Both cars make themselves more useful with fold-down rear seatbacks. We're not putting top priority on infotainment systems here, but we must call out the Alfa for its clumsy interface, and its features and graphics are strictly average. If you're on the fence about the Giulia, check out the 2020 model with its updated interface.

The BMW's cabin is a class above the Alfa's. Everything you see or touch is richer and more expensive in feel. The cabin materials are better throughout, the instrument panel has a sewn cover, and the infotainment system looks more modern, has more features, and is easier to operate. More important for everyday duty, the 330i's rear seat is commodious enough for tall passengers, and its trunk is more capacious than the Alfa's. The Bimmer clearly is the more practical, better-outfitted sedan.

The Bottom Line
Both of these cars have what it takes to make an enthusiast happy. But beyond that they're as different as Chianti and Riesling. The Giulia's sheetmetal is voluptuous, and its personality is friendly, engaging, and accessible in a fun-spirited kind of way. The BMW, by comparison, is a steely-eyed athlete, hungry to devour a piece of road—any road—with cool, unflappable detachment. It's all business. And yet, the better back-road car also is the better everyday transportation device, offering more room, superior comfort, nicer furnishings, and more cargo space—and yes, for a significantly higher price. But, in this case, you get what you pay for.

In this comparison, the BMW 330i, to paraphrase David E., does the better job of successfully bridging the gap between the diametrically opposed automotive requirements of fun and practicality—between wanting a sports car and needing a sedan. The BMW 330i is the better answer to the enthusiast's dilemma.

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      12-19-2019, 11:07 AM   #2
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A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
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      12-19-2019, 03:17 PM   #3
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Alfa's are getting better and better.

Great to have strong competition, this is what makes cars better
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      12-19-2019, 03:29 PM   #4
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When I initially read the comparison there are some points I have trouble with.

C/D claims that the Alfa's steering was lacking in feel/feedback. I find that confusing as they have posted countless reviews in which they have given high praise for the steering feel regardless of model/drivetrain, every single review they posted of the Alfa mentions that as a key area in which Alfa has the competition beat, as they currently have some of the best electric steering in the industry.

The suspension I also find confusing as well as that is also something that has received high praise from both C/D as well as other sources, and the Giulia in my opinion and many others have found it to be extremely planted.

For practicality, interior materials and tech, the 3 is most definitely the winner, and it does still handle well, but when it comes to the driving experience, I believe Alfa is still king of the segment.
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      12-19-2019, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleebe View Post
A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredible. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zero validity are just pointless.
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      12-19-2019, 04:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimp4cheddar View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleebe View Post
A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredib Jile. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zeruo validity are just pointless.
Bad day today lol? All the poster said was when he hears the word Alfa he hears unreliable. I agree with him. Has nothing to do with having driven one or not (lately) nor anything to do with being a fanboy.

It's a perception thing and their marketing team needs to work on it. In my opinion naturally.

Oh, and I assume from your post you drive one or drive them quite frequently....
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      12-19-2019, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWZ4 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimp4cheddar View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleebe View Post
A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredib Jile. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zeruo validity are just pointless.
Bad day today lol? All the poster said was when he hears the word Alfa he hears unreliable. I agree with him. Has nothing to do with having driven one or not (lately) nor anything to do with being a fanboy.

It's a perception thing and their marketing team needs to work on it. In my opinion naturally.

Oh, and I assume from your post you drive one or drive them quite frequently....
You actually need two Alfa's in total...

One to drive, while the other one is in the shop.
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      12-19-2019, 04:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWZ4 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimp4cheddar View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleebe View Post
A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredib Jile. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zeruo validity are just pointless.
Bad day today lol? All the poster said was when he hears the word Alfa he hears unreliable. I agree with him. Has nothing to do with having driven one or not (lately) nor anything to do with being a fanboy.

It's a perception thing and their marketing team needs to work on it. In my opinion naturally.

Oh, and I assume from your post you drive one or drive them quite frequently....
Read the other reviews on Alpha's. I want to like them - and
generally cheer for an underdog, but C&D's long term test of the Giulia resulted in a dozen service calls - and their car died when being road tested. Yes, they have serious reliability issues. Very attractive, but like that girl in high school, more dangerous than attractive.
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      12-19-2019, 04:12 PM   #9
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Basically the G20 is the better all-around car and has solid performance despite a lack of engagement. Frankly the M340 mostly bored me.

The Giulia is subjectively more fun but otherwise feels low-rent. Doesn't offer a mid-level engine trim either.
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      12-19-2019, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M TOWN View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWZ4 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimp4cheddar View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauleebe View Post
A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredib Jile. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zeruo validity are just pointless.
Bad day today lol? All the poster said was when he hears the word Alfa he hears unreliable. I agree with him. Has nothing to do with having driven one or not (lately) nor anything to do with being a fanboy.

It's a perception thing and their marketing team needs to work on it. In my opinion naturally.

Oh, and I assume from your post you drive one or drive them quite frequently....
You actually need two Alfa's in total...

One to drive, while the other is in the shop.
LMFAO good one
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      12-19-2019, 04:20 PM   #11
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Car and Driver had their first Giulia break while testing. The long term version had 12 service calls - most not small items. I find the car to be enticing but very buggy. I usually cheer for underdogs, but wouldn't own one. Check out the reviews on tests on the car - disappointing pretty much across the board because of the unreliability. Like the high school girl who was more dangerous than enticing...
Alfa has work to do...
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      12-19-2019, 04:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmance View Post
Car and Driver had their first Giulia break while testing. The long term version had 12 service calls - most not small items. I find the car to be enticing but very buggy. I usually cheer for underdogs, but wouldn't own one. Check out the reviews on tests on the car - disappointing pretty much across the board because of the unreliability. Like the high school girl who was more dangerous than enticing...
Alfa has work to do...
Many of the problems C/D experienced could likely be for the QF model. I'm not saying the car is perfect, nor do I have experience with Giulia ownership, but I have heard from other owners and reviews that the regular 4-cylinder, non-QF, is less problematic. I know MT had the Ti Sport for 20k miles with no issues, but then again as always, YMMV.
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      12-19-2019, 04:47 PM   #13
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I will never buy an alfa. Even the quadrifolgio are depreciating here in The Netherlands. New 160K full opt. and after 2 years for 67K.....
I don't have to own a car to now it's rubbish after two years because of software glitch, suspensoir problems, navigation issues etc etc.
But my opinion it's not important...so keep buying those alfa's guys LOL
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      12-19-2019, 05:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuastein55 View Post
Many of the problems C/D experienced could likely be for the QF model. I'm not saying the car is perfect, nor do I have experience with Giulia ownership, but I have heard from other owners and reviews that the regular 4-cylinder, non-QF, is less problematic. I know MT had the Ti Sport for 20k miles with no issues, but then again as always, YMMV.
I hope! Topgear also had massive problems with their QF.
https://www.topgear.com/long-term-ca...-auto/report-9
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      12-19-2019, 05:07 PM   #15
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I will never buy an alfa. Even the quadrifolgio are depreciating here in The Netherlands. New 160K full opt. and after 2 years for 67K.....
I don't have to own a car to now it's rubbish after two years because of software glitch, suspensoir problems, navigation issues etc etc.
But my opinion it's not important...so keep buying those alfa's guys LOL
That's what you lease a car like that.

No reason to have such a large boat anchor attached.
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      12-19-2019, 05:26 PM   #16
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These seem like fine cars, but my colleagues who daily them (executive cars and the QF) echo the sentiments that the brakes kind of suck both around town and on the highway, and daily driving one of these without a robust dealer network is not for the faint of heart (the "Alfa effect" is a bit overblown, but it's very real). Glad they're out there providing competition though!
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      12-19-2019, 06:11 PM   #17
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My sentiments towards the alfa is the kid on the block that always wanted to play with the BMWs, Mercs and Audi's. I remember them bringing the Alfa 155 to DTM back in 1994 and always been a fan ever since then. I am glad they are back because choices are always a good thing when it comes to this segment. I did end up with a m340i because of the nightmare of a time with repairs when I had an alfa spyder back in the 90s. My friend has an Alfa Guilia and she's completely happy with it and doesnt stop raving about it so I ended up cross shopping it with the m340i, but between the lease rates and the loyalty discounts i got with BMW, I ended up grabbing the 3 series on the lot.
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      12-19-2019, 06:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimp4cheddar View Post
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredible. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zero validity are just pointless.


As a person who has taken 2 giulia guads on trase one that saw 2 engine replacements past it's original. And another that had it replaced once. Both within 15k miles. Customers promptly bought porsches. Now both of these cars were used on the track and both complained about the breaks and reliability. I liked the car. But that interior and from what ive seen about its reliability. Ill take a bit slower car any day.
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      12-19-2019, 07:20 PM   #19
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Guilia had the better steering feel and slightly faster in a straight line; 330i was still overall the superior car per C/D so what is the fuss about. BMW did a fine job with the G20, the car is very competitive in its class, there's nothing to fault here.
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      12-19-2019, 08:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimp4cheddar View Post
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A lot of this comparison is moot in my opinion, because whenever I hear the brand "Alfa", all I can think of is "unreliable". Sure it's a great car, but being in the shop more than on the road is a non-starter.
Comments like this are so overblown and bullshit.

How many Alfa's have you owned since they relaunched here in the U.S. in 2018? How many have you driven? How many Alfa's have you had in the "shop"? People that post up shit like this shouldn't have a keyboard to type on.

The Alfa line up eats anything BMW puts against it... The suspension, engine, driving feel and points of engagement are incredible. Sure...the new 3 series has a refreshed interior and it looks much better than the previous F30...but that's about all it has going for it against anything Alfa.

These fanboy comments with zero validity are just pointless.
Guess what? You're on a bmw enthusiast site, not an Alfa forum. This means you should expect bmw fanboys here. If you want to share enthusiasm with Alfa fanboys go to an Alfa forum.
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      12-19-2019, 08:27 PM   #21
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Wow only 7k difference between a base F80 and a 330i
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      12-19-2019, 10:00 PM   #22
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The Alfa forum admin has been seen around here recently
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