Comparo – 2013 Audi Q5 vs BMW X3 –

11 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Comparo – 2013 Audi Q5 vs BMW X3 –

Audi Q5

Comparo – 2013 Audi Q5 vs BMW X3

The Q5 ‘s most significant competitor in the segment is the X3, and that SUV, much like the Q5, hasn’t done too well for its parent brand. Yet together these two SUVs hold up the segment and create whatever little excitement there is until I expect Mercedes comes in with the GLK and prices it competitively.

This second generation X3 is technically no longer new as it was launched in 2011 as a refreshed model. Yet, not having seen this specific design on our roads too often means it still gets some attention from passerbys. That attention is however not a reflection of whether it looks good, or not.

In my opinion it’s a non-inspiring design, something that you wouldn’t feel very passionate about. Despite the upside down lip on the front bumper or the flowing shoulder line that runs from the front fender to the tail lamps, the overall image is purely of a sedan raised on a very high platform. It’s not imposing neither is it handsome and that alienates it for consumers.

Having said that, neither is the Audi Q5 a very handsome design! It too lacks the personality that should draw attention to it. As mentioned in the previous test, the Q5 sits between the Q7 and the Q3 but lacks the persona that either possesses.

I couldn’t make up my mind about which is the better looking of the two from the outside and I’d look entirely elsewhere if styling was top of my shopping list (Volvo XC60).

Step inside the cabin of the X3 and what you see is a fairly rich, well-built ambience that is typically European. It’s standard BMW styling with a two-tone palette that gives it a refined and sophisticated feel. Yet in places the leather feels more plastic and lacks the richness of the Q5.

The control knobs don’t stand out as distinctly in the X3 as they do in the Q5 and the look and feel of the dashboard is much more luxurious in the Q5 than in the X3.

Audi Q5

Where space is concerned, the X3 comes out a bit ahead of the Q5 with more knee room for rear seat passengers as well as more shoulder and head room. In the BMW you also sit more upright which adds to the feeling of space. One critical plus point for the Q5 is its panoramic sunroof which offers a larger glass area, enhancing the sense of space.

Another interesting observation is that the armrest in the middle of the rear bench is placed lower in the X3 than in the Q5. Why this is important is because in the X3 it feels more natural and therefore makes the seating position more relaxed. Score one for the BMW’s ergonomics then.

The X3’s centre console also protrudes into the rear passenger cabin lesser than in the Q5 making it less intrusive though in terms of functionality they both offer only air-con vents, a small cubbyhole for loose change and toll receipts and a charging point.

Both SUVs are extensions of sedan platforms, the X3 is based on the 3 Series and the Q5 on the A5 coupe. That means you get fairly composed dynamics and stable ride quality as is expected from any monocoque. There are pros and cons to both though. The X3 has better handling abilities with a more 50:50 weight balance over both axles but in order to gain that superior margin the ride quality isn’t comfortable because the suspension is stiff.

It’s not stiff enough to apply all the standard clichs to, yet it’s stiff enough to make it uncomfortable. And it positively makes the Audi feel like a magic carpet ride. The Q5 has retuned spring and dampers in its latest avatar and it’s better suited for the roughness of our roads.

Ground clearance in either SUV is almost the same which translates into poor off-roading abilities and you really shouldn’t be trying to get into sticky situations. Both SUVs also offer drive selection modes that alter suspension, steering, engine and transmission character though only the X3 allows you to completely deselect traction control.

Both SUVs also employ electromechanically assisted steering units which is in the interests of efficiency but both differ in nature. Where the X3 is lighter and more sensitive at slower speeds, the Q5 seems heavier at all speeds. With the drive selector on the dynamic mode the Q5 feels the heavier of the two but also feels more direct.

Audi Q5
Audi Q5
Audi Q5
Audi Q5
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