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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 X6 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Q5 and X6 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 X6’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.
The Q5 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The X6 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q5. But it costs extra on the X6.
To help make backing safer, the Q5’s optional 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 X6 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Q5 and the X6 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X6 has not been tested, yet.
The Audi Q5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the X6’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
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.
On the EPA test cycle the Q5 Auto gets better fuel mileage than the X6 s/xDrive35i xDrive (22 city/27 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X6 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
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 X6 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
For better maneuverability, the Q5’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the X6’s (38.4 feet vs. 42 feet).
The Audi Q5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 1050 pounds less than the BMW X6.
The Q5 is 10.2 inches shorter than the X6, making the Q5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The design of the Audi Q5 amounts to more than styling. The Q5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the X6 (.34 to .35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Q5 get better fuel mileage.
The Q5 has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more rear headroom and 2.2 inches more rear legroom than the X6.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q5’s rear seats recline. The X6’s rear seats don’t recline.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Q5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X6 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
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.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Q5 has a standard rear wiper. The X6 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
Insurance will cost less for the Q5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Q5 will cost $4700 to $6740 less than the X6 over a five-year period.
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 X6 only retains 42.56% to 47.6%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q5 is less expensive to operate than the X6 because it costs $135 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Q5 than the X6, including $462 less for a water pump, $734 less for a muffler, $77 less for front brake pads, $189 less for a fuel pump, $60 less for front struts, $37 less for a timing belt/chain and $1799 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 $22501 to $32785 less than for the BMW X6.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q5, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Audi Q5 outsold the BMW X6 by over nine to one during the 2018 model year.
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