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Audi Q5 vs BMW X3

Collage photo comparison of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

These two small luxury SUVs are almost the same size, seat five passengers, and have luxury appointments inside and out. Both are powered by a turbocharged inline 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, gas-fueled engine in their base form.

All-wheel drive is available on all Audis and BMWs except for the base X3 sDrive30i. The Audis use their signature Quattro drive to manage the power of all four wheels of the Q5, and BMW uses what they call x-drive.

The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are similar in price, size, and capability, but they have two distinctly different personalities. So, the only way to decide between them is to try them both before making a decision.

Audi Q5 models, powertrains, and performance

The Audi Q5 has a more uptown appearance than the BMW X3, even when the Q5 sports the S badge. Although Audi makes cars that are race car track fast, every vehicle built by BMW is sportier. 

Adding a Sportback to the Audi Q5 line-up gives them two body styles and three available engines. The base Audi Q5 quattro® has one of the more highly developed all-wheel drive systems available on any SUV.

The constant tweaking the Audi has done on this drivetrain gives you an all-wheel drive system, which means it works quietly in the background to keep the four tires safely where they should be.

The Audi Q5 Quattro is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, developing 201 horsepower. The zero to 60 miles per hour time for the Q5 in this trim is 6.8 seconds. Fuel mileage for this model of the Audi Q5 is 23 city/ 29 highway and 25 combined miles per gallon.

Next in line is the Audi Q5 Sportback. It is equipped with the same 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder; however, it has been tweaked to produce 261 horsepower and can run from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds.

Wait, though, that’s not the fastest Audi Q5. The Audi SQ5 and the SQ5 Sportback are powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 349 horsepower. The average time of zero to 60 miles per hour for both sports models is 4.7 seconds.

BMW X3 models, powertrains, and performance

BMW X3 on a typical autumn landscape

The BMW is available in two base X3 trim levels and two higher performance models for those who like to go fast. Dubbed a Sports Activity Vehicle® by BMW, the X3 slots neatly between the smaller X2 and the larger BMW X5.

The two base models of the BMW X3 are the X3 sDrive30i, the rear-wheel drive model, and the X3 xDrive30i, which has all-wheel drive. Both are powered by a TwinTurbo 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 248 horsepower. The transmission in the BMW sDrive30i is the same as in the xDrive30i.

If you want to rule the expressway, the BMW X3 M40i is powered by a 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder. It produces 382 horsepower and returns a zero to 60-second time of 4.4 seconds. It beats the Audi SQ5 by three-tenths of a second. However, this isn’t the fastest or most potent X3, and BMW has one over Audi.

The BMW X3 M edition is powered by a TwinTurbo inline 3.0-liter six-cylinder, like the M40i. However, BWW has tuned it to punch 503 horsepower when equipped with a Competition Package and 473 horsepower without it. The zero to 60 times for the M40i is a scorching 3.9 seconds.

How is the Audi Q5 different from the BMW X3?

At its inception, the BMW X3 shared its platform. Suspensions, bodies, and engines, however, are all BMW. What this means for you is an SUV with a sports car heritage that you can purchase with more powerful motors than the Audi Q5.

Body styles are also different; the Audi has a narrower footprint than the X3 and a more sedate appearance. On the other hand, the BMW looks assertive, has a higher stance, has more powerful engines, and is priced in line with the Audi Q5.

History of the Audi Q5

A brand new AUdi Q5 in metallic black colorway in display at an auto dealership store at Poland,

Born from the Audi Cross Cabriolet Quattro concept of 2007. The Audi Q5 made its debut in 2008 at the Beijing Auto Show, 

The Audi Q5 is in its second generation of production and hasn’t strayed very far from its earliest style. However, engine development and the addition of SUVs that are mild hybrids, or EVs. Audi developed several hybrid concepts; however, it took them almost ten years to get one on the market.

In 2020, Audi introduced a plug-in hybrid variant with a range of 20 miles on electricity alone. However, since it also has a gas-powered engine, it has a range far exceeding 20 miles. Moreover, the addition of torquey electric motors gives this model of the Audi Q5 a zero – 60 mile per hour time of 5.0 seconds, flat.

At one time, the BMW X3 shared the same location for production and used the same underpinnings. However, they have never used the same suspensions or motors because their automobile philosophies differ slightly, even though they are both German companies.

History of the BMW X3

It was first introduced as a 2003 model, the BMW X3, at the Detroit Auto Show, where it held the title of xActivity concept vehicle. The X3 entered its third generation of production in 2017. The X3 is a rear-wheel drive SUV, which can be ordered with the BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system.

In 2019, BMW introduced a mild hybrid X3 with a 12-kWh battery that powers an electric motor that will give you a 40-horsepower boost. This system offers 25 to 30 miles of range.

2019 was also the year that BMW introduced the X3 M and X3 M Competition models. All iX3 models can be fitted with M-specific performance parts. The X3 M, however, can be equipped with an M spoiler stirring wheel and other carbon-fiber high-performance parts.

The price range of Audi Q5 models

The base Audi Q5 has a starting MSRP of $43,300, and the Audi Q5 Sportback has a starting MSRP of $47,800. The Audi AQ5, the sports model, has a starting MSRP of $52,900. Finally, the Audi SQ5 Sportback has a starting MSRP of $56,100.

The price range of BMW X3 models

Front view of bmw car with tall grass background.

The entry-level BMW X3s price is $45,400 for the X3 sDrive30i, and the starting MSRP is $47,400 for the AWD X3 xDrive30i. When wearing M40i badging, the cost of the BMW X3 has a starting MSRP of $59,950. The top-tier BMW X3 M has a starting MSRP of $72,900.

Design features and specs of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3

The availability of different power levels makes the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 appealing and affordable to more buyers. Although all-wheel drive is nice, it may not be necessary where you live. You will get as much attention in your Audi or BMW without all-wheel drive.

The Audi and the BMW have interiors covered in soft-touch fabrics, polished wood, and carbon fiber if you choose. In addition, all but one model is equipped with an all-wheel drive instead of an add-on feature.

The all-wheel drive systems of the Audi and BMW are highly developed and work better than most systems on the market. Moreover, as two of the earliest manufacturers to add power to all four wheels, they produce the best designs on the market. 

Of course, both brands also include every conceivable safety item that can be added to today’s cars. This includes lane-departure alarms, adaptive cruise control, and unassisted braking, if necessary.

Combined with larger monitors in the dash to control the radio, GPS, and other car functions, the Audi Q5 and BMW both have highly advanced electronics. Also, there is an option to add a 505-watt Bang and Olufsen sound system to your BMW that will rattle the windows.

Durability/dependability/reliability of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 models

A shining red audi sq5 car on the grass daylight.

The Audi Q5 is a bit more reliable than the BMW X3. However, how owners care for their cars has much to do with dependability. There are times, though, that a vehicle has an issue that has nothing to do with what you have done or not done to your car.

In 2020, the Audi Q5 was named the Best Buy in the compact luxury SUV category. This was the third year the Q5 had won this award. In addition, the Audi is rated as one of the most reliable cars in the world.

The BMW X3 doesn’t have the best reliability score. However, it has a probability of having a severe repair of just 17 percent, which is lower than other luxury SUVs. However, the average cost of repairs for the X3 is about $1100 per year, which is higher than most cars.

You may be able to afford this expensive item, but it is something you need to know before purchasing. Annual costs of a vehicle can be so high they are a financial burden, so remember to consider the cost of operating your car annually before you buy.

Reputation/awards of the Q5 and X3

Audi Q5 — Audi makes one of the most reliable cars in the world and is in the top four of this elite group. They are not inexpensive to maintain, however and are a consideration you need to make if you choose to buy an Audi Q5 or a BMW X3.

BMW X3 — “…agile handling, gutsy optional inline-six engine, and is more fuel efficient than expected.” Car and Driver 


View from the front of a black BMW X3 crossover.

The most significant similarity between the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 is that they are both German-engineered automobiles. In addition, they are both also mid-sized five-passenger SUVs with similar power options and features.

The most significant difference between the Q5 and the X3 is that the BMW X3 has more power options than the Audi. As a result, the BMW handles better, has better zero to 60 miles per hour times, and has fuel mileage almost identical to the Q5.