Audi Q5 vs BMW X3


2016 Audi Q5 vs. 2016 BMW X3

Sporty but family sized, high quality German vehicles: that sums up both the 2016 Audi Q5 and the 2016 BMW X3. So which stylish and responsive SUV should you choose?

On the luxury side of things, the Audi Q5 is impressively plush. But the BMW X3 is no slouch either. They're both roomy, with the Q5 offering more backseat space, which serves as a recommendation for drivers with kids on board or other passengers riding in the backseat. Controls are top notch, too, on both vehicles. Standard base model features for both cars include Bluetooth and a full-featured infotainment system. Both vehicles offer sleek cabins with plenty of appointments; the Q5 offers a few extra touches including a sunroof and leather interior.

Looking for a diesel engine? Both models offer these, as well. While both SUVs offer smooth handling and responsiveness the BMW's advanced all-wheel-drive option provides a slightly faster and more sporty response.

Pricing for both vehicles is similar. Both start around $40k and range up past $60K for six-cylinder models with many options.

So, what are the differences? Audi's base model provides an all-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic transmission, featuring a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Fuel estimates are 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the open road.  On the other hand,  BMW's base model offers rear-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Like the Audi, it features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, and has about the same fuel economy as the Q5, 21 mpg in town and 29 mpg out on the highway. The BMW X3's engine has slightly more power than the Audi Q5, but drivers will find the Q5 offers increased traction and safety as an all-wheel drive vehicle. If you're driving on icy winter roads or planning to go off-road, the Q5 has the advantage here.

Audi and BMW both have upgrades available for their powertrains: 3-liter V6 engines. While both handle similarly, the Q5's diesel engine is more powerful in performance than the X3's diesel option. The Q5 can also be purchased as a hybrid vehicle, so drivers looking for hybrid options should opt for the Q5.

Safety features while similar, also favor the Q5. The audi stopped at 60 miles per hour in tests at a distance of 114 feet, while the BMW averaged a distance of 123 feet. In short: the Q5 stopped almost a complete car length sooner than the BMW on 18 inch tires; 19 inch tires only brought the stopping difference into stronger focus: The Audi topped the BMW at 109 feet to a stopping distance of 127 feet. The stopping zone buffer in the Audi Q5 is definitely far larger than the BMW offers. However, in crash tests, the X3 outperformed its Audi Q5 counterpart, receiving 5 out of 5 stars to the Q5's 4 out of 5 stars.

With roominess also about the same, the only real difference between the two SUVs here is that the Q5 offers slightly more storage when the vehicle is filled by passengers, and the BMW provides more space for drivers traveling alone.

Which vehicle to choose? For braking safety and handling in winter conditions, the Q5 emerges the winner, but ultimately the preference in luxury vehicles belongs to the driver, and the vehicle that feels best when behind the wheel.

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