The Italy-Germany rivalry is not only legendary in the world of football, but also in the world of cars. The two main representatives are the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the BMW 3 Series, two top-of-the-range saloons that share much in terms of philosophy and target audience.

So let's compare them by analysing every aspect, from appearance and price to interior and engines.

The exterior

The lines of the Giulia and the 3 Series are rather at the extremes. The Alfa Romeo's lines are soft, while the BMW's are tauter and sharper, even though both have been revised in their respective restylings. The Giulia has new LED headlights (shared with the Stelvio) with three teardrop-shaped elements, while the 3 Series has more angular graphics and more elaborate bumper inserts.

<p>Alfa Romeo Giulia</p>

Alfa Romeo Giulia

<p>BMW Serie 3</p>

BMW Serie 3

Naturally, the styling changes greatly depend on the trim level chosen. If you're looking for maximum sportiness (including performance), you'll want to look to the Quadrifoglio and M3, with their more aggressive bodywork, exclusive equipment and full-bodied sound that will make any enthusiast fall in love.

Model Length Width Height Wheelbase
Alfa Romeo Giulia 4.64 metres 1.86 metres 1.44 metres 2.82 metres
BMW 3 Series 4.71 metres 1.83 metres long 1.44 metres 2.85 metres

Interior

One of the most important new features of the Giulia's 2022 restyling is undoubtedly the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel integrated inside the twin-shaped dashboard. From here, it is possible to display a variety of driving information and customise different graphics. The infotainment system and its central 8.8-inch screen are confirmed (and their graphics renewed).

As for the rest, the Alfa Romeo features curved upholstery and mouldings available in a range of colours and materials.

<p>Alfa Romeo Giulia, gli interni</p>

Alfa Romeo Giulia, l'intérieur

<p>BMW Serie 3, gli interni</p>

BMW Serie 3, l'intérieur

As for the BMW, the Bavarian saloon has a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen integrated into a single curved panel facing the driver. The gearbox is controlled by a "trigger'" rather than the conventional lever, while the choice of upholstery and materials is vast, especially if you draw on the BMW Individual personalisation catalogue.

Despite the difference in exterior dimensions, the boot volume of the two saloons is similar, with a minimum capacity of 480 litres (375 litres for the 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid).

Model Digital instrumentation Central monitor  Luggage compartment (min)
Alfa Romeo Giulia 12.3-inch 8.8-inch 480 litres
BMW 3 Series 12.3-inch 14.9-inch 480 litres

Engines

The Giulia range consists exclusively of non-electrified petrol and diesel engines. The first of these is the 280 PS 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, while there are two diesel versions, 160 and 211 PS, both powered by a 2.2-litre engine. The top of the range is the Quadrifoglio with the 2.9-litre V6 (petrol, of course) delivering 520 PS and a 0 to 62 mph time of 3.9 seconds. In the UK no diesels engines are offered.

<p>Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio</p>

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

<p>BMW M3 CS</p>

BMW M3 CS

The BMW 3 Series list is more varied. The German saloon comes in petrol variants with 156, 184 and 245 PS, plus the M3 with the 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder 480 PS, the M3 Competition with 510 PS and the M3 CS with 550 PS, and the mild hybrid diesels with the 2.0-litre with 150 and 190 PS and the 3.0-litre six-cylinder with 286 and 340 PS. Not all engines are available in the UK.

There's also the 374 PS M340i xDrive mild hybrid petrol and the 204 PS and 292 PS plug-in hybrid petrol models, both powered by the 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder in the non-electrified models.

Model Petrol Diesel Plug-in
Alfa Romeo Giulia

2.0 280 PS

2.9 V6 520 PS

2.2 160 PS

2.2 210 PS

n.a.
BMW 3 Series

2.0 156 PS

2.0 184 PS

2.0 245 PS

3.0 374 PS MHEV

3.0 480 PS

3.0 510 PS

3.0 550 PS

2.0 150 PS MHEV

2.0 190 PS MHEV

3.0 286 PS MHEV

3.0 340 PS MHEV

2.0 204 PS

2.0 292 PS

Pricing

Prices for the Giulia start at £40,030 for the Sprint with the 280 PS 2.0 petrol and rise to £78,315 for the Quadrifoglio. The Sprint already includes LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, 18-inch alloy wheels and fully digital instrumentation.

As for the 3 Series, the price list starts at £40,205 for the 184 PS petrol 320i Sport and goes up to £82,450 for the M3 CS with rear-wheel drive. The 320i comes with LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a digital instrument cluster and infotainment system, as well as front and rear sensors. Both the Alfa Romeo and the BMW are equipped as standard with an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Model Minimum price Maximum price
Alfa Romeo Giulia £40,205 £78,315
BMW 3 Series £40,205 £82,450

Gallery: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio 2023