For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X1 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Q3’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X1 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
Both the Q3 and the X1 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and available all wheel drive.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Q3 as a “Top Pick” for 2015. The X1 has not been tested, yet.
The Audi Q3’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the X1’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Q3 first among small premium suvs in their 2015 Initial Quality Study. The X1 isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 14th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q3 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X1 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
For better traction, the Q3 has larger standard tires than the X1 (235/50R18 vs. 225/50R18). The Q3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X1 (255/40R19 vs. 225/50R18).
The Q3’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the X1’s 50 series tires.
The Q3’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The X1’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Q3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X1 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q3, based on reliability, safety and performance.