The BMW X1 and Audi Q3 are two of the most popular crossover SUVs on sale in Britain: they’re practical enough for families, offer high-quality interiors and plenty of great engine options, and they won’t break the bank.
But which should you choose?
What makes these two models so special is that they arrived on the scene when there were very few premium crossovers in existence, and they've paved the way for many new models since.
Looking at both side by side, the Q3 has more of a sloped rear, which makes it appear smaller, but in actual fact it's slightly larger than its X1 rival.
Across the generations for both models, BMW and Audi have been offering incremental improvements and tweaks to the design so that they both now appear sharper and more angular – a trend that has proven very popular in recent years.
What are they like to drive?
The BMW X1 gets the choice of either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, but regardless of your preference, the X1 will handle more like a hatchback or saloon over an SUV because of how low it is to the ground.
With the Q3, most models are offered in front-wheel drive but some variants feature the really impressive all-wheel drive quattro system that Audi is famed for.
This will ensure you have no unlucky situations on looser road surfaces.
If it’s speed and performance you’re after, then you may want to look towards Audi because of the sporty RSQ3 model available, which is powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that will get you from 0-62mph in as little as 4.8 seconds.
Interior and technology
Inside, the X1 and Q3 are very luxurious – as you’d expect from two high-end German carmakers.
If you’re someone who likes their tunes (and who doesn’t?) then you’ll be pleased to know that both are available with more powerful speaker systems: Harman Kardon in the BMW and Bose in the Audi.
In terms of comfort, there’s plenty of headroom and legroom in both cars, making it easy for six-footers and those with bad backs to settle in on a longer drive.
But being crossovers, you should note that the rear space will be compromised, so don’t expect full-size SUV levels of room.
Bootspace and practicality
Both boot sizes are pretty comparable, with the Q3 taking a 25-litre lead. But it should also be noted that if you opt for a plug-in hybrid of either model, you’ll get reduced space because of the extra batteries.
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Safety and reliability
With these two crossover SUVs being so modern, safety and reliability is rarely an issue.
They both received full five-star crash test ratings when tested by Euro NCAP, with safety features including front and rear parking sensors, park assist, and cruise control.
No matter the engine your model has, you won’t need to worry about any pressing reliability issues because all the diesel, petrol and hybrid units are really solid and robust.
After all, BMW and Audi are both aspirational car brands, and a German-engineering stamp of approval makes most people think well made, solid, and reliable as well as stylish.
Boot space: 505 litres
Boot space: 530 litres
Verdict: BMW X1 or Audi Q3: which should you buy?
After weighing up all your options and you’re still not sure which to choose, perhaps we can help you out to complete your journey.
You’ve settled on a crossover because of the extra space they offer over their smaller counterparts, so if this is what you’re after then, the Q3 is a no-brainer.
With larger overall dimensions and a larger boot, this makes longer journeys with luggage that bit better.
However, if you want pure style and class while still having a decent amount of space, we’d suggest opting for the BMW X1 because of its timeless interior, great optional extras, and strong levels of safety and reliability.