BMW X3 xDrive20d vs. Audi Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro

The BMW X3 didn’t have opposition for 5 years. Their overwhelming sales success has revealed that during this time of the competition. It is undisputed that rival brands have been slow to react. But at last, the Audi Q5 challenges the hegemony of its Bavarian competitor…

Many analysts say that the segment of mid-size SUV, for security reasons and preferences and price, are the alternative to luxury sedans. Therefore, this sector has many followers who remain faithful to their quest to combine comfort and space. And it is also practical without losing that “adventurous nature” to exit occasional off-road. For years BMW with its X3 has been among far the best choice for these buyers. Now it is much more difficult for them to choose after the arrival of new competitors including the modern addition to the Q5. You should not rule out the Mercedes GLK or the Volvo XC60.


BMW X3 xDrive20d
By M 93 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons


Our opponents have similar measures, although Q5 has a length that is slightly superior (4.63 m compared to 4.57 m) and 3 inches wider (1.88 m to 1.85 m). The X3 is higher (1.67 m vs. 1.65 m). Its wheelbase is 2.79 m, while the Audi has the largest battle of the segment – 2.81 m. This is a figure identical to the A4, which indicates that its modern platform also served as the basis for developing the Q5. In terms of weight, none is very light to say. There is a difference of almost 100 kilos in favor of the Q5 (1,815 and 1,730 kg respectively).

It’s obviously that the appearance of BMW X3 and Audi Q5 is quite different. The X3 has received a few months ago a tiny facelift. It regards restyling that was applied in 2006:

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–          new body paints,

–           changes in the design of the wheels

–          grille tweaks

–          and slight changes in the defenses and protections.


The fact is that in general appearance and their forms are somewhat sober and less attractive than the Q5 has. It has stylized silhouette with more rounded shapes, give a more clearly fresh image and is modern. It dominated the typical features of the new Audi models – daytime running lights and LEDs. Although the aesthetic is and always will be totally subjective, the Q5 has wisely taken advantage of being a much newer model. It is perfectly applicable to the interior.


Audi Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro
By OSX (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


During its successful business life one of the strengths of the X3 is its surprising dynamism. It is obviously indisputable reference in the segment. Their reactions on the asphalt are closer to a sedan than to a SUV. The footprint is exceptional, exemplary behavior and a noble and entirely predictable response. On winding roads almost flat turns, the front follows the path marked with commendable accuracy and bodywork just swings. This marked sportsmanship is a privilege for a car of this nature, but it is too many concessions to comfort. So, the biggest drawback is a suspension too firm and dry. It felt noticeably the occupiers’ floor irregularities.

For its part, the Q5 achieved a better overall balance between sporty performance and comfort. Perhaps the most extreme and the most rushing X3 narrowly win in sports driving. But the fact is that with the Audi you can go just as fast and comfort. In continuous support changes it is surprisingly flexible and the absorption capacity of the buffer is great. We can add the Audi Drive Select system at a cost of extra € 1,600. That allows us to choose different settings for the suspension, the hardness of the direction and throttle response. The overall result is worth the praise.

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One aspect that we cannot ignore is the AWD (All-Wheel Drive) systems of our opponents, which use technical solutions that have nothing to do with each other. On one hand, the X3 uses traction called “xDrive” which is sending electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in normal conditions to 40% of force to the front axle and 60% to the rear. It works well in conjunction with the stability control sensors (DSC). Furthermore, traction “Quattro” the Q5 also initially transferred to 40/60% power to the front wheels and rear respectively. It modifies the distribution as needed, but uses a central differential “Torsen”. This bases its operation on the combination of a number of conventional and helical gears. The two systems are shown extremely effective and is very high motility in virtually all situations.


BMW X3 xDrive
By M 93 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

Mechanical issues

Probably in the paragraph for the engine is the only point where the X3 stand out above the Audi Q5. The technical characteristics of these diesel engines are virtually identical:

–          four-cylinder,

–          2-liter,

–          variable geometry turbochargers

–          and common rail feeding.


The Ingolstadt brand has finally abandoned pump-injector system and passed to the efficient “common-rail” gaining sweetness response and escalation. However, the BMW engine has a higher thrust and begins to stretch from the lower area of the counter.

Both declare a similar performance. The X3 has a top speed of 206 Km/h which makes maneuvering the 0-100 in 9 seconds while the Q5 reaches 204 km/h in 9.5 seconds. In practice, 7 hp more in favor of the first (177 hp vs. 170) are more than real.

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The maximum torque figure is identical – 350 Nm. It is constant between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm in the Munich model and between 1750 and 2500 in the four rings one. You can be surprised by the high noise level perceived in the X3. It is ​​strange when you consider that the engine is the same as the BMW one which they use in many of the models. In these models the typical diesel engine noise reaches the passenger compartment is obviously not anywhere near.


Audi Q5 2.0 TDI
By Thomas doerfer (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


If you are looking for a multipurpose SUV, these models are by far two of the best options. The BMW X3 has proven during this time with facts why it was at the top, but is crying out for the arrival of a new modern second generation. The Q5 has been placed at its height and even in many aspects is above. The perfect balance between comfort and sportiness, the option to have the S-Tronic change and the possibility of including more recent elements and innovations as:

– an early warning system for lane departure,

– active speed programmer

– or a device warns us of the existence of obstacles in the blind spot of mirrors.

All this tilt the balance definitely on their side.