2020 Audi Q5 vs BMW X5 Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
Are you thinking of sinking your hard-earned money into a fancy new luxury SUV? If so, you might want to check out the 2020 Audi Q5 and the 2020 BMW X5. In this segment, these are two fierce competitors. They both offer a ton of luxury features and some power engine choices. They are also remarkably spacious vehicles.
But you will notice that the X5's price tag is dramatically higher than the Q5's. Does this make it a better vehicle than the Q5? Not necessarily. Both of these autos come with their pros and cons and have something a little different to offer. Even if money is no object for you, you want to get the vehicle that best suits your needs - and that might not necessarily be the more expensive vehicle of the two.
In this comparison review, we will go over the powertrains, drivability factors, and safety features and ratings. In the end, we will tell you which one we think has the better value and is overall the smarter purchase.
You want something powerful, right? It is the whole point of buying a luxury SUV. You want to feel like your vehicle can get up to speed quickly and build power as you demand it. The 2020 Audi Q5 and 2020 BMW X5 are both strong vehicles with well-crafted powertrains. But is one better than the other?
The Q5 offers you just one powertrain - a 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It gets matched up with a rather unconventional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Together, this powertrain puts forth a solid 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. There is a hybrid variant of this powertrain. With its battery pack and other hybrid components, it gets a combined 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The PHEV can also get an additional 20 miles of pure electric range.
The BMW X5 has a few different powertrain options to choose from. The sDive40i and xDrive40i both come with a 3.0-L inline 6-cylinder engine that gets 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. If you want more, the xDrive50i has a 4.4-L V8 that generates 456 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. The line-topping M50i trim level has a beefed-up version of the 4.4-L that gets a whopping 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Each comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on all but the sDrive40i, which has rear-wheel drive instead.
Overall, the X5's powertrain options give you a few good options that let you customize your vehicle. Many will find the xDrive40i to be sufficient, as it sure does dredge up enough power to get the X5 up and running on the highway.
Speaking of the road performance, it is important to consider how drive-able each vehicle is. They both have quite a few hits, although each has some misses. Let us start with the 2020 Audi Q5. The Q5 is able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, which is a decent time for this segment. Its brakes are superbly easy to modulate and will not go all soft on you after some wear and tear. They can help the vehicle come to a secure panic stop from a higher rate of speed and handle well in everyday driving situations. Handling feels strong, but the stability control system does tend to over-engage, becoming unnecessarily intrusive. Still, given its smaller size, the Q5 is easy to maneuver through tight areas and won't require you to rely on even the standard rear-view camera. Also, with its 24 mpg combined (real world tests put it at 26-28 mpg though), you get a fair amount of fuel efficiency.
The 2020 BMW X5 has several engine choices that are all responsive and strong. Even the base engine can get you from 0 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. There is an optional off-roading package available if you plan on going off the beaten path a lot. Handling and steering, however, feel pretty boring. The steering system offers relatively no feedback to the driver, and it feels way too floaty while rounding through turns (unless you have engaged Sport mode, which is a little more enthralling). The 8-speed automatic transmission provides seamless gear shifts and compares well with the 7-speed DCT on the Q5.
So, what about comfort and interior design? Those are elements of driveability that need to be discussed. The Q5 is made for long road trips even though the seats do not have as much padding in them as you might expect to find in a luxury vehicle. However, they are well-bolstered for support, and the leather upholstery breathes well. If you opt for the ventilated seats, you will have a pleasantly cool ride during hot summer days. The only downside is that the rear seats do not have as much thigh support as some adults might require.
There is basically no noise to be heard coming from outside of the Q5. The cabin is mostly silent, void of noise from the wind or road. The engine purrs until you revv her, and then she might sound a bit too aggressive. The design in the cockpit is all about functional minimalism, which includes multipurpose knobs and switches that are well-labeled and easy to figure out. You also get great all-around visibility thanks to the slender roof pillars and wide windows and windshield. The cabin itself is surprisingly spacious with plenty of leg room in the rear seats for taller adults. The MMI infotainment system is very user-friendly, and smartphone app integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. The cargo area, though, is kind of small, and the rear seats do not fold down flat.
On the BMW X5, you get the totally current-gen iDrive infotainment system, but it unfortunately comes with a steep learning curve that might prove to be too much for some drivers. There is an optional air suspension that keeps things smooth on regular road surfaces but lets too many bumps come in on more rugged surfaces. Sport mode is pretty stuff and sends quite a bit of the road surface bumps into the cabin. The front seats offer plenty of support and are highly adjustable so that occupants can find the sitting positions that best suit them. The rear seats are a bit too flat though.
Getting in and out of the X5 is not easy, and larger drivers would do well to avoid adding the optional running boards for that reason. The cabin is spacious, fore and aft. But you will have to deal with an overabundance of tech controls on the center console, and the visibility is horrendous. Even the side mirrors and door frames make it difficult for the driver to see pedestrians and other road occupants who aren't in regular-sized vehicles.
All told, the Q5 might seem more simplistic, but the straightforward approach pays off. BMW missed the mark with the X5's cluttered dash and confusing infotainment system. And the ride quality is a sore spot in the luxury SUV segment.
Of course, driving is not all about having fun, it is about safely getting to your destination. Knowing how these two vehicles stack up in terms of safety is important when trying to decide between them.
The 2020 Audi Q5 is loaded with a large array of standard driver aids, including forward collision mitigation and automatic braking. They all work well, although the stability control system tends to be overly sensitive and kicks in while you drive with a bit too much 'oomph'. It activates the brakes at certain wheels, which can be problematic when you do have to make an emergency swerve. Of course, this is not the case for normal driving conditions.
The 2020 BMW X5 has a long list of standard safety features as well. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert all work well, but active lane centering and the high beams are a bit mediocre. The 3-D surround-view system (which you will need to rely on since visibility is so bad) and automatic parking are highly ineffective.
But what about safety ratings? How do these two luxury SUVs contend in this arena? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) assigned the Q5 "Good" marks on everything but the highlights since the low beams were found to be inadequate while rounding through left turns. They gave the X5 (note: the 2019 X5 was a Top Safety Pick+) "Good" on everything but the xDrive40i's LED projector beam headlights because they emitted excessive glare.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) assigned the Q5 5 out of 5 stars overall, taking no stars off on any of its tests. There was a 16.40% rollover risk detected, which is about average for this segment. There is one recall for a detaching wheel arch trim. NHTSA gave the X5 4 out of 5 stars, docking one star each on the Front Driver and Passenger tests. A 15.90% rollover risk was noted. A few recalls exist already. One is for the lacking of an image in the back-up camera's display, which could lead to a crash. The second recall is on the steering rack failing, which could cause the driver to lose control of the steering system and crash.
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Which Has the Best Value?
Which of these two SUVs has the better value? Even those with large spending budgets probably want to know this. The X5 has a starting MSRP of $58,900 while the 2020 Audi Q5 is far below that with a starting MSRP of $43,300. Of course, the X5 is a little bit bigger and has the option of adding a third row while the Q5 is strictly a two-row SUV.
In terms of available features, they are pretty comparable. However, the ones on the Q5 seem to work better overall. There are too many driver aids on the X5 that are subpar, rendering the vehicle a lot more than what it is worth. For the price, the Q5 packs in a ton of functional, easy-to-use features and a solid powertrain.
Which is Better?
While the 2020 BMW X5 has that big, beefy price tag and a long list of options, it does not deliver in the same straightforward, no-nonsense way that the 2020 Audi Q5 does. The Q5 is intentionally simplistic and utilitarian without compromising on its sense of luxury. The X5 does offer more powerful powertrain options, but the overall performance on all of them leaves something to be desired. Refinement just is not as obvious on the X5 as it is on the Q5. Save your money and go for the Q5.