The brand-new BMW 3 Series is arguably one of the most important launches at this year’s Paris Motor Show. The German compact executive sedan flexes its muscles in a class defined by the decades-old rivalry with Mercedes and Audi. The latter presents itself with the A4 which was launched two years ago but will undergo a subtle facelift for the 2019 model year.

BMW’s legendary 3 Series gets a seventh generation for 2019. Known as the G20, next year’s car has a new platform, is bigger all round and features bold styling even with the lower trim line option. BMW says it is sportier than the previous generations, but purists already lament the lack of a manual transmission.

The Audi, in comparison, is a car that’s already reached the mid-point of its production cycle. The styling is more conservative, consistent with Audi’s decision over the past few years to not introduce particularly eye-catching design cues. As such, the BMW might be the one you notice first, but the longer Audi shouldn’t be ruled out from the get-go.

Read on to find how the new BMW 3 Series stacks up against the Audi A4.