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The X5’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 Q8 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the X5 and the Q8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available night vision systems and around view monitors.
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, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the X5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 47 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q8 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 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 Q8.
There are over 13 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the X5’s warranty.
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’ 2019 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 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.
The X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 121 more horsepower (456 vs. 335) and 110 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 369) than the Q8’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid.
On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive40i gets better fuel mileage than the Q8 (20 city/26 hwy vs. 17 city/22 hwy).
The X5’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Q8 doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the X5 M Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Q8:
X5 M Sport
The X5’s optional 275/35R22 front and 315/30R22 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q8’s optional 40 series tires.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Q8 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The X5 offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Q8 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.
The X5 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Audi doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Q8.
For better maneuverability, the X5’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the Q8’s (41.4 feet vs. 43.5 feet).
For greater off-road capability the X5 has a 2.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Q8 (8.7 vs. 5.8 inches), allowing the X5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The front grille of the X5 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Q8 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The X5 offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Q8 can only carry 5.
The X5 has 2.6 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room and .6 inches more rear headroom than the Q8.
The X5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Q8 with its rear seat up (33.9 vs. 28.6 cubic feet). The X5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Q8 with its rear seat folded (72.3 vs. 67.5 cubic feet).
A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X5 easier. The X5’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.8 inches, while the Q8’s liftover is 33.7 inches.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the X5’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Q8 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.
The X5’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Q8’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the X5 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Q8 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
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 X5’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Q8’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X5 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Q8 doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The X5’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Q8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The BMW X5 outsold the Audi Q8 by over 22 to one during 2018.
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