News

Upgrading to a luxury SUV: Confused between the Audi Q5 & BMW X3

I have read that the quattro AWD system in the Q5 is the best in the segment. I am not a hardcore off-roader but have done quite a few challenging trips.

BHPian shashankjain16 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I want to upgrade to a luxury SUV and am confused between the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. I see polls on the forum heavily favouring the BMW X3, but after reading reviews and doing my research, I am finding the Audi Q5 more suited to my needs. Here are my reasons:

  • I have read that the quattro AWD system is the best in the segment. I am not a hardcore off-roader but have done quite a few challenging trips like the Leh-Manali highway in monsoon and winter Spiti. So, a good AWD system is a must for my peace of mind. There is also a separate off-road driving mode in Q5.
  • Audi Q5 has the best ride quality which is again very important as I do very long road trips, especially in the mountains.
  • Boot in Q5 seems to be more practical than BMW X3.
  • Can see full-size maps in the Audi instrument cluster which is good for navigation.
  • I don't know why but I feel Audi Q5 comes out as a more rugged and reliable SUV. During my last trip to Ladakh, I had done a hundred-kilometre stretch of nearly absent roads (only gravel and dust). I am afraid more electronics of the BMW X3 will be more prone to failure in such terrain. I may be wrong about this, so please correct me.
  • BMW X3 has RFTs which have stiff ride quality plus they are more prone to damage due to thin side walls (as I have read in this forum). On my last trip to Spiti, a sharp stone slid the side wall of my tyre and it was an MRF Wanderer. So, I feel RFTs in BMW will be a great risk in such terrain and I will have to switch to tubeless very soon, which will cost me extra.
  • Discounts on Audi Q5 can help me save a few lakh rupees over BMW X3.

On the flip side, BMW X3 looks much more modern and attractive. I am yet to take a test drive on both and need to judge them on the above points, so please let me know your opinions.

Here's what BHPian achyutaghosh had to say on the matter:

No offence but I would be loath to take either of these German crossovers for winter Spiti or Leh- Manali in monsoon. Electronics can fail, laden ground clearance may not be that high and any damage repairs will be mightily expensive with no local support. So if your needs are long trips like these, i would stick with a body on frame.

I would consider the X3 and Q5 only if i need a good highway driving machine with the occasional off-road stretch. And within them, take a call between driving engagement (X3) and practicality- cheaper, more spacious, more comfortable (Q5).

Here's what BHPian CEF_Beasts had to say on the matter:

To be honest, both the Audi and BMW are not suitable for Leh-Ladakh kind of treacherous terrains. My dad had met a client recently who did Leh-Ladakh in 4 cars; a Prado, 2 Innovas and a X5. The lack of oxygen at the higher altitude caused some issue in the Prado but it completed the circuit nonetheless. Meanwhile at a water-crossing water entered the X5’s engine and it got seized. They had to leave the X5 where it was and return without it! They went again with a flatbed just to get it back. The guy clearly said this can only be done in cars with lesser electronics.

Coming to the quattro system, unlike international markets where the Q5 gets air-suspension, the Off-road mode only increases the ride height. But in India there is no air-suspension so the off-road mode is more of a gimmick. And to be honest the xDrive is better than the quattro system in treacherous conditions. The same can be seen in this video.

Additional points to answer your queries:

  • The Q5 is more comfier than the X3.
  • Both have 550 Litres of boot space, so placing luggage and checking will be a better idea.
  • Full-sized colour maps are available in the Audi’s instrument cluster.
  • Neither of them is more rugged than the other and reliable. Both are Germans with very similar levels of electronics in them, so I am not sure how the X3 is more susceptible to electronic failures.
  • The X3 has a decent sidewall with their 245/50/R19 tyres. I have missed several potholes on Mumbai roads, but haven’t faced any cuts or issues till now. Of course Leh-Ladakh is a completely different terrain. The issue is with the sedans which have really low profile tyres like the 630i MSport GT or the M340i or the 220i MSport. Whether your car has RFT or tubeless tyres it’s always wise to carry a full-sized spare along with you.
  • Yes, discounts on the Q5 are much better than the X3. The new X3 still has a waiting period in the long-run.

I’ll add if you plan to do lots of inter-state drives, either the BMW or Audi will do a splendid job. But Leh-Ladakh isn’t meant for these cars, a proper 4WD with low-range will be a better bet.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
Redlining the Indian Scene