2019 Audi Q7 vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The Q7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 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 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Q7 and X5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q7 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’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 Q7 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The X5 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Q7 offers an optional backup collision prevention system which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The X5 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q7. But it costs extra on the X5.

To help make backing safer, the Q7’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 X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Q7 and the X5 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Audi Q7 is safer than the BMW X5:

 

Q7

X5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

128 G’s

143 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q7 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been fully tested, yet.

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 Q7 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 27 more horsepower (329 vs. 302) and 30 lbs.-ft. more torque (325 vs. 295) than the X5 s/xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Q7 55 TFSI 3.0 supercharged V6 is faster than the X5 s/xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.:

 

Q7

X5

Zero to 30 MPH

2.5 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.4 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.7 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

93.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Q7 55 TFSI V6 gets better fuel mileage than the X5 s/xDrive35i xDrive (19 city/25 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q7 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X5:

 

Q7

X5

X5 xDrive50i

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.1 inches

14.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

The Q7 stops much shorter than the X5:

 

Q7

X5

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X5 (285/45R20 vs. 275/40R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q7 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The X5’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q7’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the X5 (117.9 inches vs. 115.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q7 is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.

The Q7 Prestige handles at .85 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35i pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Q7 Premium Plus executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the X5 xDrive35i (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Q7’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the X5’s (40.7 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Q7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (8.3 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the Q7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Q7 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 1.5 inches higher than on the X5 (9.7 vs. 8.2 inches).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Q7 Prestige is quieter than the X5 xDrive35i (70 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

The Q7 has 1.3 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

The Q7’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

 

Q7

X5

Behind Third Seat

14.8 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

37.5 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

35.8 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Q7’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Q7’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’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 Q7’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X5 is limited to 6000 pounds. The Q7 offers up to a 7700 lbs. towing capacity.

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

The Q7 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Q7 has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The X5 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q7 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The X5 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q7 is less expensive to operate than the X5 because typical repairs cost much less on the Q7 than the X5, including $368 less for a water pump, $1078 less for a muffler, $40 less for front brake pads, $158 less for a fuel pump, $397 less for a timing belt/chain and $1510 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi Q7 will be $7218 to $7999 less than for the BMW X5.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its March 2016 issue and they ranked the Audi Q7 Prestige first. They ranked the BMW X5 xDrive35i fourth.

The Q7 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The X5 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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