2019 BMW X3 vs. 2019 Audi Q5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X3 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The X3’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Q5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X3 and the Q5 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 all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the X3 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q5 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Q5.

There are over 13 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the X3’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Engine

The X3 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 107 more horsepower (355 vs. 248) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X3 gets better fuel mileage than the Q5:

 

 

 

MPG

X3

 

RWD

sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

AWD

xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

 

M40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Q5

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW X3 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Audi Q5 (3). This means the X3 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Q5 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW X3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Q5.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X3 M40i’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Q5:

 

X3 M40i

Q5

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

13 inches

The X3 stops shorter than the Q5:

 

X3

Q5

 

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The X3’s optional 245/40R21 front and 275/35R21 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q5’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Q5’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Q5 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The X3 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Q5’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X3’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Q5 (112.8 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X3 is .2 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Q5.

The X3 xDrive30i handles at .81 G’s, while the Q5 Prestige pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

The front grille of the X3 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Q5 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

The X3 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Q5 with its rear seat up (28.7 vs. 25.1 cubic feet). The X3 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Q5 with its rear seat folded (62.7 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The X3’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Q5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the X3 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Q5 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The X3 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Model Availability

The X3 is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the X3 is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because typical repairs cost less on the X3 than the Q5, including $11 less for front brake pads, $6 less for a starter and $6 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the BMW X3 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X3 third among compact premium SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Q5 isn’t in the top three.

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

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