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Audi Q5 vs. BMW X3: which is better?

Between the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3, which is better suited to your needs? Find out in our BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 comparison

A comparison of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 models

The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 – two five-door, five-seater SUVs – are premium family cars.

They’ve been around since the noughties and are leaders in their class. Plus, there are plenty of used Audi and used BMW models to choose from. But which is the right next car for you?


A comparison of the lights and vents on the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 models

Styling is the surface-level reason you might pick one car over the other. The look of the car represents your tastes, so naturally, it’s a deciding factor.

The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are universally considered to be very good-looking cars.

The Q5 had a facelift in 2020 and takes after the Q7 more clearly with a more narrow honeycomb grille, large air intakes and side skirts.

The headlamps and rear lights are also more intricate and angular. It’s always been smart, but now it’s more aggressive and sharper too.

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The BMW X3 is more simple in design, which balances out its most recent growth spurt.

It’s got a large bonnet with a single-piece kidney grille (depending on the generation), flattened headlights and 3D rear lights. If the Q5 is aggressive, the X3 is sculpted.

If you want a sportier-looking Q5 then opt for the Q5 S Line or SQ5 and SQ5 Sportback, or for a sportier X3 then the X3 M Competition has the extra flair.

What are they like to drive? 

A comparison of how the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 feel to drive

The X3 comes with mild-hybrid petrol and diesel options, and (depending on the year) a plug-in hybrid option.

There’s also an all-electric iX3 too, with 285 miles of claimed range.

The X3 manages good mpg on longer drives, especially if you get the 2-litre diesel. It’s also a great SUV for the city because it’s easily manoeuvrable.

It’s engaging and handles impressively, so it’s a fun drive – and it’s always comfortable. Get the X3 M or the X3 Competition and you’re going to get a lot of thrills.

The Audi Q5 also comes with petrol and diesel engines but unlike the X3, the latest versions come with a plug-in hybrid option.

This gives you up to 39 miles of electric range, which makes the Q5 a smart option for inexpensive and eco-efficient town and city driving.

The Q5 is quiet, smooth, and very refined. It hugs corners well, there’s little body roll compared to rivals and newer models are less firm to drive, making it smoother on rough UK roads.

It’s a confidence-inspiring drive overall; you feel cosseted at high speeds on country roads and motorways alike, and the steering is predictable, which makes you feel safe and secure.

Interior and technology 

A comparison of the interior in the BMW x3 and Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 is dependably Audi when it comes to the interior and takes after the Q7. It’s spacious and is class-leading in terms of quality and technology.

It’s extremely comfortable for driver and passengers alike, with multi-way adjustable leather seats as standard and loads of storage space.

The infotainment and dash setup is sublime no matter what generation you get. It’s intuitive, with concise controls that are placed perfectly and the quality is seriously impressive.

You get a floating 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen along with Audi’s virtual cockpit, sat-nav, Bluetooth and, of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The X3 is smaller than the Q5 but it’s still spacious and has a premium interior. The interior is a bit busier than the Audi, with more angles and sections to explore.

Expect leather, brushed metals and wood trims, and this luxe feel continues into the back of the car.

Standard equipment in the X3 is generous with a 12.3-inch central touchscreen and same-size digital driver’s display, as well as smartphone mirroring, DAB radio, Bluetooth and BMW’s iDrive control system.

If you’ve previously owned an Audi then you’ll feel at home in the Q5, and it’s ideal for everyday ease. The X3 gives you a lot for your money and is perfect if you want a highly customisable cabin.

Bootspace and practicality  

A comparison of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 boot space

Both cars are five-seaters – neither have the option to add an extra row. The X3 and Q5 are, however, very spacious, so you’re getting what you pay for here.

Four adults fit in with room to spare, and three young teenagers will be perfectly happy in the back in both models.

The X3 comes with Isofix points for child seats while the rear doors open nice and wide so you can get child seats in easily, which makes it a very practical compact SUV for a young family.

Rear seats split 40/20/40 and the tailgate is electronic, which is handy for busy life.

The Q5 also has three-way folding back seats and a boot that opens electronically from the key and a ski hatch as standard. It’s a solid choice for active family life.

The Q5 has 550 litres with all the seats in use, but the Audi Q5’s boxy shape and sliding back row give you an extra 60 litres of boot space if you want it, so it’s especially practical for longer family road trips.

The X3 has 450 litres, so slightly less but it’s still more than enough.

With all the seats folded down, you get 1,550 litres to utilise in the Q5. The slightly smaller X3 gives you more with 1,600 litres but both cars can easily accommodate moving furniture, sports kit and plenty of suitcases.

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Safety and reliability  

The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 have both been awarded full five-star Euro NCAP safety ratings and got top scores in adult and child occupancy, making them smart buys for safety-conscious parents. They come with loads of standard safety assists too.

BMW scores particularly well when it comes to reliability, but both cars come with three-year warranties.

The Q5 covers you up to 60,000 miles while the X3’s is unlimited, giving it a slight edge if you do a lot of long-distance driving and add up the miles quickly.



Length:  4708mm

Width:  1891mm

Height:  1676mm

Boot space:  450 litres  

Audi Q5

Length:  4682mm

Width:  1893mm

Height:  2662mm

Boot space:  550 litres

Verdict: BMW X3 vs BMW X5: which should you buy? 

If you haven’t quite come to a final decision while reading our head-to-head, then our hot-seat quick verdict should help you nail it down.

The X3 is the slightly more affordable choice if you want a more compact SUV that is at home in both the city and suburbs.

It’s very economical, which makes it particularly good if this family car is going to also be used daily for commuting to work.

The Q5 is one of the most refined larger SUVs you can buy, and really is unbeatable if you want the most relaxing family car for holidays or driving to see the family on the weekend.

If you’re a family with a dog, you can purchase Audi pet accessories, and with four-wheel drive as standard, it’s brilliant for towing and the occasional bad weather situation.

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