At first glance, these are 2 very different vehicles. The Audi Q5 is a compact luxury SUV, and the Lexus RX 350 is a larger, mid-size luxury SUV. However, with similar price points, and cargo space, and due to the popularity of both, they are often compared by consumers.
How does the Audi Q5 stack up against the Lexus RX 350? Which one is the right luxury SUV for you?
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In this article, we’ll look at the features, utility, and performance of both the Audi Q5 and Lexus 350 to see how they compare, and which offers more value for your hard-earned money.
What is the Audi Q5?
Audi’s best seller is the Q5, which is larger than the zippy Q3 but still significantly smaller than the Q7 with 3 rows of seats. It is a compact, luxury SUV with more cargo space than most, an impressive look, and good driving performance.
Although the Audi Q5 may not be a standout in any particular area of the crowded class of small luxury SUVs, it also hits all of the right notes and delivers everything you need, which makes it a great all-around choice.
What is the Lexus RX 350?
The Lexus RX 350 is Lexus’ most popular model. A mid-size luxury SUV from a company synonymous with luxury, the Lexus RX 350 has more than enough cargo space and a smooth ride, along with the best luxury and safety features.
Features and Specifications
Breaking down the Audi Q5
The 2022 Audi Q5 has an inline, 4-cylinder, 201 horsepower engine with 236 lb-ft of torque. It has an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, with gas mileage of 23 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.
With an overall length of 184.3 inches and a height of 65.5 inches, it weighs 4079 lbs on the curb and has a cargo capacity of 25.8 cu. ft.
The Audi Q5 comes standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive and has a 7-speed automated manual transmission.
Breaking down the Lexus RX 350
The 2022 Lexus RX 350 is powered by a V6 cylinder, 295 horsepower engine, with 268 lb-ft of torque. It has a 19.2-gallon fuel tank, with gas mileage of 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined.
With an overall length of 192.5 inches and a height of 67.7 inches, it weighs 4222 lbs on the curb and has a cargo capacity of 16 cu. ft.
When it comes to driving performance, neither the Audi Q5 nor the Lexus RX 350 are the best in class. The BMW X3 has better acceleration and handles turns better than either of these luxury SUVs. However, when it comes to overall performance, both of these vehicles can hold their own and are a pleasure to drive.
The Audi Q5 is nimble, with some additional athleticism on twisty roads and highways thanks to the Quattro all-wheel drive system. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 6 seconds. However, in Edmunds’s review, they noted that the Q5 is hesitant to downshift sometimes when it should in a way that felt indecisive. The brakes are very responsive, which gives the driver a sense of safety and control.
At lower speeds in the city, the Q5 performs adequately but doesn’t have the performance feeling of Audi, although that can change when you merge onto the highway or turn onto some back roads.
The Lexus RX 350 has a balanced, smooth ride, without pushing any boundaries on performance. The V6 engine easily accelerates when you need a bit of extra power to pass or merge, and it feels like driving a cloud. The RX 350 accelerates from 0-60 in 7.9 seconds, which is slower than the Audi Q5 and some other competitors, but it never feels sluggish on the road. All-wheel drive is not standard on the RX 350 like it is on the Q5, and drivers who are concerned about performance would benefit from the upgrade.
A trim upgrade for the RX 350, the F-sport package, actually hurts rather than helps the performance issues. The F sport package reduces body roll but does little to improve handling, and the additional stiffness in steering takes away from the smooth luxury feel that the Lexus RX 350 cultivates. Drivers who are looking for improved performance would be better off skipping the F-sport package.
The Audi Q5 is cheaper overall, especially when you consider that it comes standard with an all-wheel drive, which is an upgrade for the Lexus RX 350. However, the margins aren’t that significant and depending on how you want to set up your vehicle, the costs are comparable.
A 2023 Audi Q5 has a base price of $44,695. However, their most popular package is the Premium Plus S Line, which is $52,695.
The 2022 Lexus RX 350 has a base price of $46,995. Considering you’re likely better off skipping the F-Sport package, you might end up paying a little more for some additional features, but this is close to the price you will pay.
When it comes to value, both of these luxury SUVs pull their weight, and at these price points, it is no wonder that they are out-competing the other mid-size luxury SUVs in the class, and that both the Q5 and RX 350 are the best sellers for Audi and Lexus respectively.
Visual Design and Aesthetic
Both the Q5 and RX 350 exude luxury, inside and out, and this is reflected in the aesthetic choices.
The Q5 is a rounded SUV with a low roof and large wheels (there is an option for 20″ wheels, which improves the aesthetic design). It has a big grill, with rounded contoured lines.
The interior of the Q5 has a spaciousness that seems to transcend the volume of the vehicle, especially if you opt for the sunroof. The doors seem to bow outward, and every single bit of additional space is capitalized on.
The Lexus RX 350 has a massive grill on the front, with sharp and aggressive cutout lines that were specifically requested by Akio Toyoda, the current president of the Toyota motor company, who had the final say on the RX’s design. Redesigns over the years have only sharpened these lines, making the RX look somewhat jagged for an SUV on the outside.
On the inside, it’s a different story. Lexus makes a great interior, and there is a flat, minimalist, understated quality to the interior of the RX 350, which makes it very different from the aggressive exterior, and a welcome luxury.
Both the Q5 and the RX 350 were built for luxury comforts, and that shows.
The Q5 has an ergonomic interior with seats that are firm enough to offer support on long drives, without being soft or cushiony. The ride is comfortable too, with little to no detectable wind noise on the highway and a silky smooth glide over pavement and hard surfaces.
You’ll have plenty of room for your gear in either SUV – that’s what the design is for – but the Audi Q5 pulls ahead of the RX 350 in this part of the comparison.
Although you could rightly consider the Q5 to be a compact luxury SUV, the RX 350 is a longer and larger mid-size luxury SUV that contains significantly less cargo space. While the Q5 has 25.8 cu. ft. of cargo space, the RX 350 has only 16 cu.ft.
If you want to bring even more gear with you, both vehicles can tow a trailer – but again, the Q5 pulls ahead, with a towing capacity of 4,400 lbs compared to the Lexus’ 3500 lbs.
The Audi Q5 comes with a touchscreen infotainment system that is easy to use but can be a bit of a reach while you are driving. The voice command system is pretty strict and can be difficult to use. Otherwise, Android and Apple integrations work well, advanced driving aids are effective, and adaptive cruise control is finely tuned on the highway.
The Lexus RX 350 has a big infotainment screen, and Lexus’ Enform app works well but only integrates with a few other third-party apps. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work well, advanced driving aids perform well. Adaptive cruise control is effective, but isn’t as responsive to the flow of traffic as it could be, according to Edmunds’ review.
The Benefits of Owning an Audi Q5
The Audi Q5 is Audi’s bestselling model for a reason: it is a compact and versatile luxury SUV that offers you everything you need without skimping, even if that means it doesn’t necessarily excel in any one category. A perfect all-rounder, the Q5 has good performance, lots of cargo space, a smooth ride, luxury features, and systems, all wrapped into a beautiful package for a fair price.
The Q5 balances handling and performance with cargo space. It manages to feel massive on the inside, and with significantly more cargo space than the Lexus RX 350, it can keep up while also being smaller.
The Benefits of Owning a Lexus RX 350
The Lexus RX 350 is unmistakably a Lexus, and it pushes the design envelope. With a rugged and challenging exterior and a soothing, unique interior, it’s a work of art. It also has excellent performance and the best safety and luxury features. The level of detail inside and out, from the stitching on the leather seats to the placement of the headlights, speaks to the design quality of a Lexus.
A Lexus RX 350 is perfect for someone who wants a luxury vehicle without sacrificing anything else – like performance, cargo space, and features.
Which is Better: The Audi Q5 or the Lexus RX 350?
Both of these luxury SUVs are bestsellers for their parent companies, and both models have legions of fans, so it’s hard to make a definitive judgment. There are also multiple generations of both cars, and they could be compared going back many years.
At the moment, comparing the 2023 Audi Q5 and the 2022 Lexus RX 350, it’s a close race, but the Audi Q5 comes out ahead.
The Audi Q5 has a cheaper base price for a vehicle with more storage space, and a similar level of luxury and design. Being slightly smaller, the Q5 gets better gas mileage. It also handles better than the RX 350, with standard Quattro all-wheel drive, especially when you leave the city and allow the rear wheels to get some power.
You might opt for a Lexus RX 350 if you prefer the design aesthetic or the interior, but on paper, the Audi Q5 offers more value in almost every category. The Lexus RX 350 has a more powerful engine, but even that seems not to matter, since the Q5’s handling is just as good and it can tow up to 1000 lbs more than the RX 350.
If you’re looking for an all-around luxury SUV that offers the maximum value, check out the Audi Q5. If you’re a Lexus fan, the RX 350 is not far behind.