Crossover & Midsize

These 2021 Audi Q5 and BMW X5 Models Continue the Dramatic Rivalry

Luxury rivals like the 2021 Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid and the 2021 BMW X5 45e have a lot in common. One of the similarities is great fuel economy for the class. If you’re not ready to go full-on electric, either SUV is a solid choice if fuel efficiency is one of your priorities.

How does each of these luxury SUVs do on gas mileage? How do they match up when it comes to performance? We’ve got all the specs ready for you.

The 2021 Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid delivers efficiency and luxury

The latest Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid is elegant and stylish, touched up for 2021. This crossover SUV is high-tech and comfortable. Is it the most exciting to drive? Perhaps not.

The Q5 e is well-made and quiet. In 2021, its redesigned LED headlights and taillights have a little more panache. Passenger and cargo space remains the same and is decent. The Q5 now has a 10.1-inch touchscreen and an optional digital gauge display give it a more state-of-the-art vibe.

Blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and rear-cross traffic alerts are standard now. Adaptive cruise control is only offered on top-shelf trims.

According to the MotorTrend team, the biggest drawback to the 2021 Audi Q5 is its underwhelming driving experience. Sure, it’s accurate and fast but not thrilling to drive. The MT team found the Q5’s stability control system, combined with Audi’s Quattro AWD, to be interfering, and it ruins the ride.

The more athletic SQ5 does it better and feels more like a hot hatch than an SUV according to MT. The SQ5 offers more power and allows for more driver input. The base Q5, however, disappoints when it comes to performance.

The 2021 BMW X5 45e

The newly redesigned 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e hybrid plug-in offers more power with a substantially increased EV-only range than that of the previous model. Only downside? It’s pricey.

In 2021, the X5 xDrive45e got a new turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that gets 389 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque with an assist from its electric motor. That’s a boost of 81 hp over the previous four-cylinder engine. The latest X5 also got a bigger battery which amplifies the SUV’s electric-only range from 14 to 30 miles according to MT.

The operating speed range is up to 84 mph. Combined with the higher electric-only range, those with enough coin to buy it will be very intrigued. It would be the perfect vehicle for running errands at lunch without using any gas at all. It’s comfortable and practical with slightly less cargo space than the regular model.

So, between the 2021 Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid and the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e, which vehicle wins?

A tale of two SUVs

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Recently, MotorTrend released a list of the best gas mileage SUVs on the market for 2021, and it includes the 2021 BMW X5 45e in 11th place and the 2021 Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid in 10th place. The Q5 barely beat out the X5. Each is a flagship SUV for their German automaker. 

The 2021 Audi Q5 e Plug-in Hybrid does slightly better on fuel efficiency. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is paired with an electric motor. It sends power to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It puts out 362 hp, has a 19-mile EV-only range, and is EPA-rated at 50 MPGe.

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Plug-in Hybrid has a turbocharged engine, electric motor, and eight-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. It puts out 389 hp, a 31-mile EV-only range, and is EPA-rated at 50 MPGe.

Which one to choose? If you want better value, the Q5 might be the way to go. It’s not the most exciting ride, but it starts at $51,900 compared to $58,895 for the X5 – and that’s after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

If the exciting ride is a priority and you have the extra money, the 2021 BMW X5 45e might be the best choice for you.