2019 Audi Q5 vs. 2019 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q5 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 X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Q5 and X3 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q5 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 X3’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 provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q5. But it costs extra on the X3.

Both the Q5 and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Reliability

The Audi Q5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the X3’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Q5’s reliability 39 points higher than the X3.

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 Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Audi Q5 is faster than the X3 s/xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

Q5

X3

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.7 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.6 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Q5 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Q5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The X3 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q5’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the X3:

 

Q5

X3

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q5 has larger standard tires than the X3 (235/60R18 vs. 225/60R18). The Q5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (255/45R20 vs. 245/45R20).

Suspension and Handling

The Q5 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the X3 xDrive30i (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Q5’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (38.4 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The Q5’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the X3 M40i’s (38.4 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Q5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Q5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Q5 has .6 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.4 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q5’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, 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

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Q5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The X3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

The Q5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Q5 will retain 52.7% to 53.4% of its original price after five years, while the X3 only retains 46.62% to 48.02%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q5 is less expensive to operate than the X3 because it costs $270 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Q5 than the X3, including $161 less for a water pump, $270 less for a muffler, $75 less for fuel injection, $84 less for front struts, $289 less for a timing belt/chain and $1036 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi Q5 will be $393 to $4450 less than for the BMW X3.

Recommendations

The Audi Q5 outsold the BMW X3 by 35% during the 2018 model year.

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

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