Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW X3 VS 2017 Audi Q5 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 BMW X3

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2017 Audi Q5

Safety Comparison

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the City Collision Mitigation optional in the X3 as “Superior.” The Q5 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The X3’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Q5 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The X3 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Q5 only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The X3 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Q5 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the X3 and the Q5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive and blind spot warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Audi Q5:





5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Leg Forces (l/r)

309/613 lbs.

1014/735 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Audi Q5:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

222 lbs.

261 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

49 G’s

Hip Force

709 lbs.

766 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

16 inches

18 inches




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

355 lbs.

776 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Q5.

There are over 17 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the X3’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the X3 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Q5’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X3 third among compact premium SUVs in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The Q5 isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 14th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The X3 s/xDrive28i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (240 vs. 220) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the Q5 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The X3 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 28 more horsepower (300 vs. 272) and 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 295) than the Q5 3.0T’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the X3 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. is faster than the Q5 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:




Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

19.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

7.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

4.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

90 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X3 4WD gets better fuel mileage than the Q5:







2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

21 city/28 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto


3.0 turbo V6/Auto

19 city/26 hwy

18 city/26 hwy

3.0 Supercharger V6/Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the X3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Q5 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the X3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Audi only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Q5 3.0T.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the X3’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Q5:




Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The X3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Q5 2.0T are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X3 has larger standard tires than the Q5 (245/50R18 vs. 235/60R18).

The X3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q5 2.0T’s standard 60 series tires. The X3’s optional 275/35R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Q5 3.0T’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Q5 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For greater off-road capability the X3 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Q5 (8 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the X3 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the X3 xDrive35i xDrive is quieter than the Q5 2.0T Premium Plus (67 vs. 68 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The X3 has 1.3 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Q5.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The X3 has a larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Q5 with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 57.3 cubic feet).

The X3’s cargo area is larger than the Q5’s in every dimension:




Length to seat (2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the X3’s available cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Q5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The X3 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Q5 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left down on the X3 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Q5 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the X3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Q5 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the X3 and the Q5 offer optional heated front seats. The X3 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Q5.

On extremely cold Winter days, the X3’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Q5 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Optional BMW Apps for the X3 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Q5 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The X3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Q5 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the X3 is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because typical repairs cost much less on the X3 than the Q5, including $124 less for a water pump, $172 less for a starter, $51 less for fuel injection, $67 less for a fuel pump and $837 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW X3 will be $2696 to $7581 less than for the Audi Q5.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. The BMW X3 is ranked second in the Near-Luxury Utility category. The Audi Q5 is ranked below average.

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