2019 Audi e-tron vs. 2018 BMW X5 xDrive40e

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi e-tron are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the e-tron and X5 xDrive40e have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The e-tron has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The X5 xDrive40e’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

To help make backing safer, the e-tron’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the e-tron and the X5 xDrive40e have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available four-wheel drive and night vision systems.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

The e-tron’s electric motor produces 94 more horsepower (402 vs. 308) and 158 lbs.-ft. more torque (490 vs. 332) than the X5 xDrive40e’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the e-tron gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive40e running on electricity (74 city/73 hwy vs. 55 city/57 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the e-tron gets better fuel mileage than the X5 xDrive40e running its gasoline engine (74 city/73 hwy MPGe vs. 23 city/25 hwy).

The e-tron’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 204 miles on a full charge. The X5 xDrive40e can only travel about 14 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi e-tron higher (10 out of 10) than the BMW X5 xDrive40e (3). This means the e-tron produces up to 36.3 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the X5 xDrive40e every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the e-tron’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X5 xDrive40e:

 

e-tron

X5 xDrive40e

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the e-tron has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the X5 xDrive40e. The e-tron Prestige’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the X5 xDrive40e.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the e-tron uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the X5 xDrive40e, which uses coil springs in front. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

For better maneuverability, the e-tron’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the X5 xDrive40e’s (40 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Audi e-tron amounts to more than styling. The e-tron has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is lower than the X5 xDrive40e (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the e-tron get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the e-tron uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The e-tron has 1 inch more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more rear headroom and 2.5 inches more rear legroom than the X5 xDrive40e.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the e-tron’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The e-tron’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5 xDrive40e’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the e-tron’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 14% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X5 xDrive40e, the e-tron Prestige has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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