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BMW X1 vs. Audi Q3: which is better for 2024?

Learn more about the BMW X1 vs. Audi Q3 dimensions, specs, performance and tech in our comparison review

blue audi q3 parked in front of a sunset on the left. On the right, a grey BMW X1 driving on a mountain road

BMW X1 vs. Audi Q3

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. 

Audi’s Q3 sits above the smaller Q2 but below the Q5 SUV to offer a great middle-ground option for those who prefer a crossover.

Like the Q3, BMW's X1 sits low down in the model range, but that by no means makes it any less mighty than the larger X3 and X5 models

Plus, you can get used BMW and used Audi models at impressive prices - ideal if you like a bargain.

But which should you choose?

BMW X1 vs Audi Q3: styling

On the right is a light blue Audi Q3 parked in front of a sunset and on the left is a grey BMW X1 driving off-road

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 of them together, you’d think they look awfully like hatchbacks, but don’t be fooled – these compact SUVs are much larger inside than you think. 

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. 

BMW X1 vs Audi Q3: what are they like to drive?

grey bmw x1 rear driving on the left and light blue audi q3 rear driving a coastal road on the right

When it comes to engine options, the X1 and Q3 are very similar – both are available with diesel, petrol or plug-in hybrid power options.  

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.  

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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. 

BMW X1 vs Audi Q3: interior and technology

left on BMW X1 brown leather interior, right black Audi Q3 interior

Inside, the X1 and Q3 are very luxurious – as you’d expect from two high-end German carmakers.

Both are available as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which makes it much easier for you to jump in and go without having to deal with setting up the car’s own infotainment system

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. 

BMW X1 vs Audi Q3: bootspace and practicality

on the left is the BMW X1's boot and on the right is the Audi Q3's boot

The reason you’d go out and buy an X1 or Q3 is because you need more space over the smaller offerings from the two brands – the A3 and 1 Series. Boots on both the rivalling models here are good. 

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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BMW X1 vs Audi Q3: 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. 

BMW X1 vs Audi Q3dimensions:


Length: 4438mm

Width: 1821mm

Height: 1598mm

Boot space: 505 litres

Audi Q3

Length: 4484mm

Width: 1856mm

Height: 1616mm

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. 

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