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Audi Q5 vs BMW X3

Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: used car comparison

Which is best for you, the Audi Q5 or the BMW X3? Our guide can help you decide.

Phill Tromans Cazoo

By Phill Tromans

Published: 27 February 2024

If you’re looking for a premium mid-size SUV, the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 are probably near the top of your list. They’re both great cars, but they’re quite different in a number of ways. Here we’ll compare the two, explain their strengths and weaknesses, and reveal which one we think is the best overall.

We’re focusing on the latest generation of BMW X3, sold new since 2018 (but not the electric iX3) and the Audi Q5 SUV sold new since 2017.

Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: size

The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are mid-size SUVs, and very close in size. The BMW is just over a centimetre taller and it’s 471cm long versus 468cm for the Audi. While the X3 is 214cm wide, including door mirrors, the Q5 is just 2mm narrower.

Audi Q5

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Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: interior and tech

When it comes to interior quality, the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are up there with the best in the business. The materials used look and feel special and everything feels solid and built to last.

The tech in the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 looks great, too, and gives you a wealth of features. The Audi’s digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel allows you to personalise what you see there.

The infotainment system is in the centre of the dashboard and, on the latest models, it’s controlled via a touchscreen. While this system looks brilliant, we’ve found it less intuitive to use than the one in pre-2020 models – the older version was less flashy but featured a dial between the seats to control the various features and was easier to use while you were driving. Overall, though, the Q5’s interior has a real feel-good factor whatever the age or spec of the car.

The BMW also has a top-quality feel, and the infotainment system is similarly smart. While you can use it as a touchscreen you can also control its functions using a rotary dial next to the gearstick, which makes it much easier to use without taking your eyes off the road. Some models even have a gesture control system that lets you change settings like audio volume with a shake or twist of your hand. It’s gimmicky, but it’s rather fun.

Audi Q5


Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: practicality

You won’t find much difference between the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 when it comes to practicality – both have ample space for four adults, or five at a squeeze, which means these are great family cars.

Headroom and legroom is more than sufficient in both, although in terms of overall capacity, the X3 is slightly larger. The Audi Q5 has a useful option (included as standard on high-spec cars) called ‘Rear Bench Seat Plus’, which means the back seats can recline for extra comfort or slide forward to give you more boot space.

Audi Q5


Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: boot space

The boot space in the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 is the same at 550 litres. That’s bigger than rivals like the Volvo XC60 and means you get lots of space for most of your everyday needs.

Go for a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the Audi Q5 and the boot capacity drops to 465 litres because of the additional battery pack under the boot floor. You get the same issue with the BMW X3 plug-in hybrid, which has a boot capacity of 450 litres.

The back seats on both cars fold down in a 40/20/40 split which gives you flexibility to carry a mix of passengers and longer cargo. With the seats folded, you’ll get 1,550 litres of expanded space in the Q5 and 1,600 in the X3.

Audi Q5


Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: which is best to drive?

While the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are closely matched in many ways, they offer quite different driving experiences. The Audi is set up more for luxury and comfort, while the BMW offers a level of sportiness over its rival.

Both drive very nicely. The Audi wafts along with ease, whatever engine it has. Trying to describe the Audi’s driving experience results in words like reassuring and comfortable, but if you enjoy your driving and like to feel at one with your car, then the Q5 might not quite do it for you.

If you’re a keen driver, the X3 should be more your cup of tea. Like the Audi, it also has a range of petrol and diesel engines and a plug-in hybrid that all give effortless acceleration. The difference is that the X3 is one of the most rewarding cars of this type. It’s comfortable, albeit firmer under your backside than the Q5, but it also feels much more responsive, with a feeling of sharpness and agility that you don’t get from the Audi.

Audi Q5


Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: which costs less to own?

Both cars are premium-brand products, so the cost to buy and service them will be more than you’d pay for similar-size cars from less luxurious brands. When it comes to fuel costs, the choice of engines on both models means you can choose to prioritise efficiency or performance.

The Audi’s petrol engines will deliver up to 33.6mpg according to official figures, depending on the model. The diesel models will manage up to 44.8mpg. Officially, the PHEV version – called the Q5 55 TFSI e – will give you up to 188.3mpg, but in reality that number is only achievable if the electric motor’s battery has enough charge left. The maximum pure-electric range is 39 miles.

The X3’s petrol engines will give you up to 37.2mpg, and the diesels promise up to 48.7mpg, meaning that you should pay slightly less at the fuel pumps with the BMW than with the Audi. The PHEV model – the xDrive30e – promises up to 141.2mpg, lower than with the Audi, but that may differ in the real world.

Audi Q5


Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: safety and reliability

Although BMW and Audi in general often don’t score as high as some less-premium car brands in independent reliability studies, the X3 and Q5 have fared relatively well.

Both manufacturers offer a three-year warranty from new, although Audi limits that to 60,000 miles, while BMW will cover a new X3 for as many miles as you can manage in that time frame. That coverage is fairly standard across the market, although it lags behind the seven-year warranty you’d get from Kia or the five years you’d get from Toyota and Hyundai.

Both cars were tested by the independent safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2017 and scored the maximum five stars. Although the testing criteria have moved on since then, both cars come packed with the latest safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.

Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: dimensions

Audi Q5

Length: 4,682mm

Width: 2,140mm (including door mirrors)

Height: 1,662mm

Boot space: 465-550 litres


Length: 4,708mm

Width: 2,138mm

Height: 1,676mm

Boot space: 450-550 litres

Audi Q5 vs BMW X3: verdict

Winner: BMW X3

The Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 should both be on your shortlist if you're looking for a premium mid-size SUV but we think the BMW X3 is the best option for most people.

Both cars look and feel great inside, come with lots of tech and give you and your passengers a comfortable driving experience. But the BMW X3’s infotainment system is easier to use and you can get better fuel economy across its range of engine options. It’s also more fun to drive. The Audi is the best option if you value comfort over everything else but, for us, the BMW is the more complete package.


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