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2023 BMW X3 vs Audi Q5

Comparison of 2023 BMW X3 and Audi Q5

1. Introduction

A comparison of the 2023 BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 involves two different types of consumers. The potential X3 buyer is receiving the freshest, 2nd model year of the X3 and possibly a redesigned vehicle. Remember, reliability is rated much lower for the most current BMW models and is another deciding factor for prospective BMW buyers. The Audi Q5 buyer has chosen to delay gratification by purchasing the new generation Q5 for the 2018 model year and opting for a used vehicle. Pricing and specific details for the 2018 Q5 have not yet been released, but the new Q5 will likely represent a slightly used, fully loaded current vehicle as an alternative to the X3. By comparing these two vehicles, the key goals are to ascertain whether the "pre-owned" Q5 experience surpasses that of a new X3 and to make an overall assessment of the respective vehicle. The 2023 X3 will introduce the third generation of the X3 model and will represent the 2nd model year of a new generational release. Whether it is fair to compare a slightly used Q5 to a new X3 will be up to the reader, but this comparison will provide future used Q5 buyers with the necessary tools to assess when the time comes. The X3 model has been a versatile vehicle that has represented an engaging driving experience and above-average reliability. Pricing has not yet been released for the 2023 X3. Given recent BMW trends, the overall price will likely be marginally higher compared to prior X3 models. The general expectation for the 2023 X3 should be an improvement over the 1st gen F25 X3 and the 2nd gen F25 LCI X3. A new X3 may not be as financially realistic for some prospective Q5 buyers, but giving the benefit of the doubt, there exists a chance that it will still serve as a comparison for a used Q5. (Peng & Meng)

1.1 Overview of the 2023 BMW X3

Although the BMW X3 has changed from the original model, its goals have stayed the same. It is still designed to be sporty on the outside as well as luxurious on the inside. The 2023 model is constructed on the same 5 stages shared with the 3 Series sedan and it shows. All-new sheet metal is stretched over a slightly longer and wider body. A "dramatic increase in interior room" is promised, with rear-seat passengers getting the bulk of the benefits. A new suspension system has also been developed and is sure to be many steps up from the base suspension 3 Series system. It can be equipped with electronically controlled shock absorbers and variable damping control available on the fly. This is part of the first-ever factory-installed X3 sport package, which also includes big 18-inch wheels, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, and the all-important firmer sport suspension. All X3s will now have xDrive all-wheel drive standard, removing an important price-related distinction compared to the X5. The new powerplant for the X3 is pure German-ness, the 3.0 L M54 inline-6. This all-aluminum engine runs DOHC Valvetronic valvetrain. The M54 comes with 225 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque. This is an increase of 15 horses and 1 lb-ft from the pre-2006 M54. Due to the increase in weight and size, the 1700 kg curb weight, BMW might have trouble reaching the claim that acceleration and fuel consumption will be an improvement over its predecessor. The price is going to stay relatively close to the outgoing model, which starts at 43,000 CDN. A stronger, more agile X3 with much-improved interior comfort should keep proud X3 owners happy when it is time to trade in.

1.2 Overview of the Audi Q5

The 2012 Audi Q5 gets a slight refreshing in terms of styling on the outside and inside. The front grille is a six-sided figure with chrome lining it, and the Audi logo is uniquely placed on the leading edge of the hood. Now the 2023 BMW X3 got a substantial amount of change in terms of looks that take a shift for the more modern and aggressive side. The double kidney grille remains, but the shape and the body are now much bulkier and larger to give a more masculine look. According to onlookers, the whole front-end design is that of trying to be too intimidating and snobby.

The Audi Q5 is the model that was launched in the market back in 2008, and it is a considerably long model in the auto market industry. The Q5 is a compact luxury crossover that has been a steady SUV, as mentioned by consumer reports. The reliability and looks seem to have maintained, apart from that it doesn't have much to excite about. Techniques for ignition will vary from model to model. To start the comparison, let's say we're comparing the model with push button start.

2. Exterior Design

Bmw has characterized the X3 by seemingly pulling and extending the lines found on the smaller X1, and indeed that works. Prominent headlamp creases and an angular nose give the X3 a unique, aggressive look but it’s smooth body creases and compact greenhouse help maintain the X3’s family-friendly on and off-road image. As expected, the attention to detail is impressive. One example is the optional LED headlamps, which feature LED light rings that act as daytime running lights. The Q5 certainly does resemble a larger Q3, in the same way the Bmw X3 resembles a larger X1. The carry-over styling details are a sign of the times – buyers want people to know they’ve moved up from their last car and there’s no better way to show that than having a car that looks like a more expensive variant of your old car. However, this can cause some confusion between models. It’s very easy to mistake a Q5 for a Q3 until there’s a direct comparison between the two. Still, this design strategy has worked very well for Audi so there’s no real reason for them to change it. Both the X3 and Q5 have seen enlargement in their newest generations but the real change comes in the increase in interior space (which will be addressed further in the interior section of this article). The X3 has grown in height, giving occupants a slight increase in headroom. This change is more noticeable on the outside as the X3 now has a more upright appearance than the previous generation. As the length and width increases, ground clearance and approach/departure angles have decreased, making this the most road-biased X3 yet. This is further emphasised with the availability of three different lines – especially the X-Line which includes simulated underbody guards and flared wheel arches without actually adding any off-road prowess. The Q5 has taken on similar changes as it too underwent an increase in height, length and width but ground clearance has been decreased. Visually, it’s hard to tell that the Q5 has gotten bigger but the older Q5 was a great looking car so this wasn’t really a bad decision by Audi. Both models have rather fuss-free rear ends but the X3's rear looks to have taken some inspiration from the larger X5. There’s no doubting that the Q5 and X3 are great looking cars in their respective brands but predicting which will age more gracefully is a tough call. (Hindam, 2020)

2.1 Styling and aesthetics of the BMW X3

Engineers and designers have put a lot of effort into creating a good-looking SUV. Details such as the high shoulder line, slightly wedged shape, and the round wheel arches to highlight the X drive system characteristics are what give the X3 a unique look. The Dynamic Lateral Lines are the two lines that run along the bottom of the doors. These are important because they bring a sense of movement and life into the vehicle when it is static. This is something that is only really seen when the vehicle is in motion and packages the vehicle very nicely. Being an M Sport, our vehicle is equipped with 19" wheels which really do compliment the vehicle. Step up to 20-inch wheels with the M40i and they become a no-cost selection. LED headlights are a standard issue on the X3 as it reflects BMW's sporting design and is very modern. Dual Exhaust pipes are seen on all vehicles, leaving a lasting impression. The boot is power-operated and the sensor to operate it is very responsive and effective. The rear LED taillights are somewhat similar to the previous generation X5, which is not a bad thing. The look of the car is modern and evolutionary, which is what BMW is about. The vehicle is growing in size and weight, and the styling has had to adapt around this concept. The look of the M40i is somewhat different from the rest of the range. Featuring a more aggressive front end with a different bumper and a rear spoiler. High Gloss Shadow Line is also an added feature. This vehicle is somewhat of a compact crossover-sized X5 M and speaks for what the segment will change into in the near future. From an aesthetics point of view, this is my pick of the range. Outside color and optional features can personalize the vehicle even more, but may sometimes detract from the vehicle's original character, so this is a choice to be careful with. So there are many things to like about this vehicle's design. I would consider styling the most prominent and positive feature this vehicle has to offer. It is good for the type of vehicle, inside and out, from big to small details. The X3 should do well in the next 7-year term, we may even see them around longer this time. With so much packed into this vehicle, it could be an ideal competitor for its bigger brother, the X5.

2.2 Styling and aesthetics of the Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 has very contemporary, sophisticated, and expressive looks. As with the X3, the Q5 has the latest Audi face with distinctive daytime running LED lights. In recent comparisons, the Q5's front grille has been said to be reminiscent of a mustache, with divided opinion on its aesthetic inclusion to the front of the car. In terms of dimensions, it is 1 inch wider than the X3 and the same height with the same length. This means it looks more squat than its BMW rival, and many have likened its greenhouse to that of a wagon. The rear of the Q5 has a complex look with lots of creases and lines. The Q5 has standard LED taillights with optional LED headlights, and since the recent refresh in 2012, it comes with a horizontal trim piece on the top lift gate and bumpers with integrated exhaust surrounds. The Q5 is available with 40.6 cm (16") - 53.3 cm (21") wheels depending on trim and option. The recent revision added distinct wheel arch flares and mixed with a prominent shoulder line, it has a rugged and sporty appearance. With details such as the aluminum optic mirror housing and matte trim around the windows, the Q5 has a more premium appearance on the outside than the X3. This is helped by the fact it is 120 kg heavier than the BMW, thanks to a platform shared with the A5 and A4, and gives it a more solid and planted stance on the road.

2.3 Comparison of exterior features

The Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 both have many features and advantages. These two SUVs are in the same category, but are quite different. The X3 beats the Q5 in sportiness, but this is because BMW has the X5 and the X6 which are categorized much higher than the X3. Both cars are targeted for someone who wants a smaller, more fuel efficient utility vehicle. They both have seating for five, have a large cargo area, and have an all-wheel drive (AWD) option. Both cars feature a 3.0L 6-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission. The Q5 comes with a 6-speed trip tronic, while the X3 comes with an 8-speed automatic with overdrive. The X3 has 240 horsepower while the Q5 has 272 hp. The X3 with 240 hp has an acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, and the 272 hp Q5 does 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. So the Q5 is a little bit quicker and more powerful than the X3. The fuel economy for both models is quite similar, but there are links to show the exact numbers from the X3's 28i model to the 35i model, at the bottom of the Q5 section. Starting with the front fascia, the X3 and the Q5 have two different design cues. The Audi's Singleframe grille is a bit too traditional in design, and that affects the car's presence. The X3 has a familiar kidney-shaped grille and more aggressive headlights. The hood has several crease lines and a power bulge. In our opinion, the X3 has a more appealing front end. The side profile of the Q5 is very basic, and not as innovative as the outgoing model. The X3 has more sculpted lines and a long hood. The rear end of both cars is the area where the designs are most similar. The X3 has flat, square-shaped LED taillights, and a dual exit exhaust. The Q5 shares a similar taillight shape, and also has a dual exit exhaust. But because the Q5 has not changed much from the first generation to the second, it may appear to some that Audi may have just taken the safe route in design. Both second-generation SUVs now come with a power liftgate. The X3 offers a panoramic moonroof as an option. The standard alloy wheels on the X3 are 18 inches, the Q5's are 17. The X3 clearly has more bold designs and defined lines from front to back. Step back and compare it to the Q5, and you might find that Audi's design is just a drawn-out version of the Q5's predecessor. Coming out with an all-new model, BMW has progressed in design more, and that can be a deciding factor as to why someone would choose an X3 over a Q5. (Nicoletti et al.2021)

3. Performance and Handling

The X3 has two engine options. The xDrive30i, the version we're testing, has a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. It produces 185kW of power and a healthy 350Nm of torque all the way up at an ultra-low 1450rpm. It's a peach of an engine; turbo lag is virtually non-existent and it will happily howl its way to redline if you're feeling bold. The claimed 0-100km/h time is 6.8 seconds. The other option is the M40D, which offers a 3.0L 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. It produces 230kW of power and 500Nm of torque to achieve a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds. Both engines are hooked up to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and xDrive AWD. Step over to the Audi's garage and you'll find the Q5 has three engine options available; the 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine or the 3.0L V6 engine in either petrol or diesel configuration. Continuing with the theme, the 2.0L produces 185kW and 370Nm of torque from 1600-4500rpm. This engine is hooked up to a 7-speed automatic transmission and quattro AWD, managing a 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds. The first of the 3.0L engines is a V6 diesel, which boasts a strong 210kW and a monstrous 620Nm of torque from 1500-3000rpm. This engine is mated exclusively to an 8-speed automatic and quattro AWD, achieving a slick 0-100km/h time of 5.8 seconds. The other engine is a V6 petrol, producing 260kW and 500Nm of torque from 2900-4200rpm. This engine also uses an 8-speed automatic and quattro AWD, providing the most potent Q5 acceleration with a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 seconds. Audi also offers a plug-in hybrid Q5, but it is not available in Australia.

3.1 Engine options and powertrain of the BMW X3

The X3 xDrive30i is the mainstream model in the US market and uses BMW's B46 inline 4 engine, which is also a single-scroll turbo. The X3 is available in many markets with BMW's B47 diesel engine, but that is not an option in the US market. The X3 xDrive30e, which will be available in 2020, will have a plug-in hybrid variant of the B46 engine. This model has a range of up to 30 miles on electric power and could be similar in performance to the standard xDrive30i, as it was tuned to match the output of the F25 X3 xDrive28i from 2011-2017. This would be a more fuel-efficient alternative for those who don't require the power of the M40i and have the ability to charge regularly.

The BMW X3 has been available in the US with three different power plants since its launch in late 2017 as a 2018 model. The X3 M40i, which is the top of the line X3 at the moment, uses a variant of BMW's B58 engine, which typically uses a single twin-scroll turbo. The specific variant, the S58, is expected to produce between 475 and 500 horsepower in its first application in the 2019 X3 M and X4 M. This will be BMW's most powerful 6-cylinder engine to date. It will also include a more performance-oriented AWD system compared to the standard X3 xDrive30i and X3 xDrive30e.

3.2 Engine options and powertrain of the Audi Q5

The lacking of an engine option and slightly outdated engine currently offered with the Q5 is not fantastic news, however, one can expect a change in direction for future powertrains, putting them more in line with the most recent engine technology and focusing on efficiency without sacrificing performance.

Quattro all-wheel drive is obviously the preferred powertrain for anyone looking to use their Q5 off-road, however, with the majority of Q5's being used as a city SUV alternative, Audi has now made available a 2.0 TFSI Q5 which is a lighter and more fuel-efficient option that has the capability of very light off-roading but is still not your traditional off-road vehicle.

As for the diesel enthusiast, the news is better. The Q5 will offer a TDI engine in the near future and it will not be the older 3.0L V6 TDI, but the more recent 2.0 TDI I4. Hopefully by the time this engine is released, the Q5 will also make available the 7-speed S-Tronic transmission which should maximize both performance and fuel efficiency of this powertrain.

Now let's take a look at how these vehicles perform by evaluating their engine choices and powertrains. The Audi Q5 differs from the X3 with only one engine offered. This is a 3.2L V6 producing 199kW and 330Nm which is essentially shared with the A5. This is quite a dated engine as many other competitors are adopting the most recent technology within their smaller engine options. The 8-speed automatic is the highlight of this powertrain and is an excellent transmission which should be able to maximize potential fuel efficiency. Step in the right direction.

3.3 Comparison of performance capabilities

The last main aspect of the SUV's performance is in the 0-60 and quarter mile times. It may not be on every consumer's mind when they purchase one, however it is still some indication and demonstration of power. Therefore, it is relevant and significant. The Audi Q5 has a measured 0-60 of 6.8 seconds and 15.3 seconds in the quarter mile. On the same terms, the BMW X3 has a 0-60 acceleration of 6.4 seconds. That said, in actual tests, it was demonstrated that the X3 was capable of a 6.1-second run. In addition to that, in the quarter mile test, the X3 gained a time of 14.7 seconds, clearly beating that of the Q5, although it does not reflect the 0.4-0.6 second gap. Overall, it is clear that the BMW X3 has a slight edge over the Audi Q5 in terms of performance capabilities. In comparison to the two, the X3 provides a more satisfactory and exhilarating time due to its higher top speed limit. The measured times of 0-60 seconds and the quarter mile do not do actual justice to what both vehicles are capable of. The different driving experience between them amplifies the value of speed and acceleration for the X3.

3.4 Handling and driving experience

As with engine performance, most modern-day buyers of small 4x4s will not be looking at hard driving, but they do need the added sense of safety and security that comes from driving a 4x4 compared to a saloon car. Simulation of power loss in slippery conditions can only give way to an actual demonstration in a similar situation. Overall, for road driving, both systems provide adequate safety measures with little compromise in actual vehicle performance.

Steptronic and tiptronic transmissions are also very similar in function, with the main advantage of both being the ability to manually select gears to have more control over the car. The X3 will have an advantage here in being able to return better acceleration from a standstill with the 40:60 torque split. Heavier front-wheel torque-biased transmissions will cause the rear wheels to slip before acceleration occurs. This is normally the case in cars with front-wheel-drive-based platforms. In a practical driving sense, it may not be noticeable.

In terms of the all-wheel-drive systems, both the X3 and Q5 use a similar principle with a planetary gear that, when slip is detected, can transfer power to the axle with the most traction. The major difference here is that the X3 uses a default 40:60 power distribution, whereas the Q5 uses a 50:50 distribution.

The X3 has an extra function of being able to disable DSC. This function is more for off-road driving where a small amount of wheel spin is required. The DSC can be reactivated by pressing the brake pedal or pressing the button again. This is a feature that the Audi does not have.

Dynamic Stability Control in BMW and Electronic Stability Control in Audi function in much the same way, with each using an array of sensors to detect the first sign of wheel slip. Both systems then brake individual wheels and reduce engine power in order to maintain traction in adverse conditions. The major difference in this aspect is that the BMW system is proactive. It acts to prevent loss of traction in the first place, whereas the Audi system is reactive and is activated after traction loss is detected. This function is useful and cost-effective in the sense that it reduces wheel slip and hence reduces tire wear. It also has the potential to enhance safety, especially in adverse conditions.

4. Interior and Technology

The BMW's schnoz is the only performance that truly advances the latest company design, although the most recent round of front-stop modifications can also be seen around the refreshed X1 and the new five Series. The headlights and taillights have new inner graphics, the two models have a more sculpted front fascia and the X3 M's grille envelope needs more chrome. For the X3 M, the Hellcat is in details and comes standard with M Compound brakes. Clients can display LED headlights with U-formed back lighting fixtures, adaptive headlights with laserwork, and LED fog lights. Rear lighting fixtures numerous be experienced on LED or full matrix LED on the X3 M that changes the illuminating steel, power usage, and length of lighting. An assortment of 19 and 20-inch wheel styles can be purchased. Blue exterior accenting aside, BMW worked well tough to keep the X3's quantifiable routine visual appeal this sort of that you absolutely do not recognize it is the connect-in hybrid unless you happen to be actively trying to find it. The most essential design cues for the plug-in hybrid are a uninspiring filling door on the appropriate rear fender- incorporating the secondly-plug-in motorists are seeking adding the base M sport deal with to their choir and an AX3e badge on the tailgate. The substantial alter originates from new photo colour choices and up to date wheel models. The Audi virtually has no redesign. The supplied apply is limited to new inner cut alternatives. The most substantial media is the greater infotainment system and regular warmed entrance seating in the 2021 Q5. The base Premium currently qualities 8-way effectiveness seating with 4-way lumbar help. Three sector climate administration is normal on all trims of the Q5. At the cockpit the Audi internet cockpit is a typical feature on all models, the 12.3-digital exhibit enthusiast customizable and friendly screen up to profiles for the car operator. The readily available Audi virtual cabin as many as 40. Internal devices feature a shifter made of bur hardwood with light weight aluminium cut inside along with lighted front door sill clip plates. This shifter is available today on all A5 designs. This was a large package for a vehicle touted as one particular of the perfect primary ideas performed with the Q5 at the moment to check ahead the selection of the SUV is more confirmed be the finest of anything at any time done on the platform. The through extensive wait around times for shipping and delivery of Audi S and RS models. A verified by push reports from Audi the next age group Q5 can make use of the extremely updated MLB Evo platform.

4.1 Interior design and comfort of the BMW X3

With a very thoughtfully designed interior, BMW arguably has the best interior of this comparison. The front cupholder cover slides to reveal more storage space, and there are pockets for everything. While the standard two-zone climate control system is engineered to provide a quiet, comfortable ride, ambient lighting is standard on the X3, and their three levels are switchable between the rear and front of the car. The dynamic-looking gauge cluster displays virtual light bars to alert the driver of the engine's redline. The base models are well-equipped too, and high-end features such as heated rear seats and steering wheel, a head-up display, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are available. That said, the cost will add up quickly.

There are definitely some good things going on inside the new BMW X3. Seriously, this expertly handled crossover is the most luxurious ride in this class, and its cabin upholds that reputation. Trading driver engagement for a dose of sophistication, the X3 delivers an expertly comfortable ride and a quiet interior. While its 10-way power adjustable front seats provide ample comfort and support, the cabin is incredibly roomy for all passengers, and rear seat riders will not feel their space is compromised. Front and rear seats are available with a heating option. There's not much cargo space underneath the rear hatch, but the split-fold rear seats create ample room for larger items.

4.2 Interior design and comfort of the Audi Q5

The biggest advantage of the Audi Q5 in terms of interior over the X3 is the space on offer. The Audi scores high on space, and it can comfortably accommodate four adults. The rear seat can slide fore and aft, and the rear seat backs recline - a rarity in this class. The rear seat also splits 40/20/40, so you can seat one or two people in back while still carrying longer cargo. The X3 on the other hand, is just too cramped in the back. The boot is also smaller in the BMW than the Q5. Fine cabin materials are plentiful in both vehicles, but the X3's iDrive system can be complex and frustrating. Step-in height is lower in the Q5, and this could be an important factor for some people. Other marks can come close to matching Audi's interior quality and the Q5 doesn't do justice to the best marks but against the X3, it's a clear winner. The design is simple and understated but it still looks and feels like a special car inside. It's very comfortable and well laid out. Then there's Audi's Virtual Cockpit which is the standard in the Q5. This is an optional extra on the X3 and many buyers may not opt to pay the premium for this. This is not to say that the X3 has a poor interior. The new X3 does have a very smart, very high-quality interior. Some people may rather the BMW's cabin for its design. The X3 isn't quite good enough in terms of quality and design to keep up with the Q5 inside, but it's still better than most of its rivals.

4.3 Comparison of technology features and infotainment systems

The 2023 BMW X3 features the iDrive 7 infotainment system that comes with the BMW Live Cockpit Plus. This setup includes a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 10.25-inch center touchscreen. The Audi Q5 comes with a 10.1-inch center touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, giving the user a readout that looks similar to iDrive. Fortunately, both German plug-in hybrids have retained a physical rotary controller for the infotainment system, making life easier for the user who prefers not to touch the screen while driving. The connectivity battle is definitely won by BMW, while the Q5 only has two USB ports and the 12V outlet makes the tech side of the Q5 seem a bit outdated. A 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with 3D sound is available on higher-spec Q5s. The X3 has a 16-speaker, 464-watt Harman Kardon sound system available with the option for just 12 speakers at a lower price point. The X3 also has an available head-up display that is lacking on the Q5. Both vehicles offer WiFi hotspot capability, but the BMW wins with an available package that adds wireless charging and in-car Amazon Alexa integration. This is convenient for ordering items on the go and for Alexa users who will already be enjoying the benefits of a smart home assistant. This heavily tilts the scale as iDrive has been regarded as one of the best in-car infotainment systems since its debut, and the Alexa integration makes Amazon-dependent users' lives that much easier.


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Nicoletti, L., Romano, A., König, A., Köhler, P., Heinrich, M. and Lienkamp, M., 2021. An estimation of the lightweight potential of battery electric vehicles. Energies, 14(15), p.4655. mdpi.com