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Audi Q5 Vs. BMW X3: Which Is The Best?

compare bmw x3 vs. audi q5 in Indianapolis

The German auto giants Audi and BMW have been waging an active advertising war for almost 30 years, trying to prick each other with new developments and receive the title of “Best European Car”. Since 2006, this battle has entered an acute phase, and recently, two models have added fuel to the fire: the Q5 and X3. 

Exterior: Is The Audi Q5 Bigger Than The BMW X3?

bmw  exterior comparison

Until recently, car enthusiasts haven’t even thought about whether to choose a BMW X3 or give preference to an Audi Q5 because the Q5 appeared on the market later than its competitor. That is why a comparison of the exterior of these two cars immediately gives an advantage in favor of the BMW model. Designed as a lightweight crossover, the X3 takes on the features of its big brother - the X5 - with a facelift while maintaining its original technical characteristics. Audi is inferior to it in size (184.3x65.5x84.2 vs. 185.9x74.4x66.0), which ultimately affects the appearance of the car.

Even the first generation of these two vehicles had clear differences. Evolving, the two models did not become similar. If you compare the Audi Q5 and the 2018 BMW X3 G01, the design distinctions of the frontal area will be obvious. The Q5 is attractive because of a straight hood line and a massive trapezoidal radiator grille. BMW remains true to its traditions: the smooth geometry of the hood and the double grille resembling nostrils.

The optics are fundamentally different. It has already become common for cars from Ingolstadt to look at the world through squinted headlights with illumination in the form of a unit. As standard, the Q5 can boast bi-xenon optics with the option of installing LEDs or the Audi Matrix system with dynamic turn indicators. BMW has wider headlights, but compared to the X3 versions produced in 2014-2015, the shape of the DRLs has changed from round to angular, like the X5. BMW has LEDs in its base.

The side stamping of the BMW is clearer than that of the Audi: the top line runs through the handles, and the bottom line is deeper and visually continues to the wheel arches. But it will appeal to those who like angularity in their car. One of the disadvantages of BMWs is the open sills: all the dust remains on them, and there is a high risk of getting your clothes dirty when getting in the car.

Interior: Is Audi Better Than BMW?

audi interior comparison

Based on the fact that the X3 SUV is longer and wider in size than its rival, one can immediately assume that it will be more spacious inside. But once inside the cabin, you understand that these conclusions are preliminary. The Audi is noticeably more spacious but inferior to its opponent in seat comfort. Even the 2012 BMW X3 already had sports seats, and the latest generation Audi only has optional seats with lateral support, which reduces the overall level of travel comfort. This drawback is offset by the design of the front row. The seating position in the Audi is higher and deeper, and, therefore, it provides better visibility.

The back row is more comfortable in a car from Ingolstadt: the seats are deeper, and the backrests are high. They can comfortably accommodate a tall person without touching the ceiling with their head, and if you add the pre-installed heating system for the rear row, you don’t even want to get out of the car. Passengers in the X3 will have to make room, and compared to the excellent sports seats in front, the rear seat in this car is quite hard and low. A person of average height has to keep his hips hanging. The narrow doorway will also cause inconvenience for passengers. There is more legroom in the X3 than in the Q5, even if the latter is equipped with a mechanism for longitudinal adjustment of the rear seats.

In reviews of BMW X3 owners, you can often find indignation about the uncomfortable interior. This primarily concerns the various storage compartments. For some reason, the glove box has two zones, there is no already familiar compartment for a smartphone, and the cup holders are closed by a high gear selector knob. In this regard, the Audi Q5 wins, although it also has its drawbacks: the low level of ergonomics of the door sides and limited access to bottle compartments. Another nuance of the Q5 model is the shape of the gear selector. The handle is low and flat, so it takes time to get used to. And yet, it is made this way precisely for the driver's comfort. As for the comments regarding the lack of fixed positions on the selector, the updated X3 crossover does not have them either, and the selector is high, which makes access to the cup holders difficult.

But the trunks are about the same. Compared to the 2013 model, the luggage compartment of the Audi Q5 has become noticeably larger. With a mechanism for longitudinal adjustment of the rear seats, its volume can be increased up to 21.5 cubic feet. In addition, the Q5 can fold the central seat and transport long items in the car while maintaining two full-fledged passenger seats. The X3 SUV has a base volume of 19.4 cubic feet but without the possibility of increasing it. Having opened the trunk of the BMW X3, you immediately notice a step: there is a wheel hidden under the floor (it turns out not a full-size, but a spare one). Due to the height difference in the BMW's trunk, the loading area is noticeably smaller than that of the Audi Q5. 


BMW is already introducing the third generation of a light crossover, while Audi has released only the second version. Based on this, we can assume that the X is more technically advanced, but when deciding what to choose, the BMW X3 or the Audi Q5, it is hard to come to a definite conclusion.

Car Engine Type SAE Net Horsepower @ RPM SAE Net Torque @ RPM Displacement EPA Fuel Economy Est - Hwy/City/Combined (MPG)
2018 BMW X3 Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-6 355 @ 5500 369 @ 1520 3.0 L/183 27/20/23
2018 Audi Q5 Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 252 @ 5000 273 @ 1600 2.0 L/121 27/23/25

The X-3 is made on the Clar platform, and its older brothers are also produced on it. Its advantage is the combination of different materials, thereby reducing the overall weight and increasing strength. But still, not all Clar was carried over from the X5: the floor panel and the distance from the front axle to the engine were retained, while the double-wishbone front suspension was removed and McPherson struts were added, while low multi-link struts were left at the rear.

Audi also uses similar technology: the Q5, introduced in 2017 in its second generation, is produced on the lightweight MLB Evo platform, thanks to which it was possible to reduce the weight of the car compared to the first generation of this model.

Both cars are all-wheel drive. BMW has 4WD, and Audi has a Quattro with ultra technology, and this is one of the differences. The Quattro ultra system has been developed specifically for vehicles with a longitudinal engine. Neither the BMW X3 nor the Audi Q5 claims off-road feats, although they are ready for difficulties. The BMW is good on snow and ice thanks to the pre-installed rear-wheel drive with a plug-in front end. The car responds faster to steering movements, has a sensitive gas pedal, turns well, and stabilizes quickly. The X-3 is better to choose if you have a dynamic driving style and for drifting. The Q5 is not so nimble, because the Quattro ultra extends the drift phase under traction and prevents the car from spinning at speed. But once it hits the dry pavement, the Q5 crossover is composed and precise, corners well, and performs like a sports sedan.

Which Car Is Better, the Audi Q5 or BMW X3?

is audi better than bmw

It is impossible to draw a clear conclusion about which car is better. The interior, ride balance, ride quality, and fuel consumption are better in the Audi, but the BMW is more responsive and agile in difficult weather conditions. In basic versions, both models are approximately equal in technical equipment, but in the same multimedia standard, the Q5 is inferior to the X3.

At Indy Auto Man, Indianapolis, you will find several good models from different years to compare, test drive, and buy used at an attractive price. Fill in the form and schedule your visit to the dealership already today!