Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 BMW X3 Beats the Audi Q5 In Every Area That Counts

Now in its third generation, the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 are both top-rated SUVs by U.S. News, with the X3 coming in first and the Q5 coming in second. They’re both great SUVs that are fun to drive and a good size for families. What are the differences, and which one is better?

The 2020 BMW X3 has better acceleration

The base engines of both the 2020 BMW X3 and 2020 Audi Q5 are similar and both offer a nice drive, but the 2020 X3 has more powerful engine options. The two base engines are both turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinders producing 248 hp. The 2020 X3 has an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the 2020 Q5 has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The BMW X3 has two optional engines: a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, producing 382 hp as well as a new turbocharged V6, generating 503 hp. This powerful engine is available only on the new X3 M Competition model.

The Audi Q5 offers one optional engine: a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, producing 349 hp. There is also a plug-in hybrid available for the Audi Q5. While the X3 has the more powerful engines, U.S. News felt the 2020 Q5 offers a better ride and handling.

The 2020 BMW X3 has better fuel efficiency

A look at a black BMW X3's front grille, a direct competitor to the Audi Q5
The BMW X3 | Dasril Roszandi/NurPhoto

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Looking at the two SUVs’ four-cylinder engines, the BMW X3 is rated for better fuel efficiency. It should get 25 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. The Audi Q5 is rated for 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. However, while both SUVs require premium fuel, the Q5 comes standard with all-wheel drive, which reduces its fuel efficiency slightly.

The 2020 Audi Q5 has more standard seating features and slightly higher interior quality

According to U.S. News, the Audi Q5 has slightly better seating. It comes standard with more features, including leather upholstery and heated front seats. It also offers a sliding second row. The BMW X3 comes standard with synthetic leather. It does offer heated front seats, but they’re optional.

Both the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 have excellent interior quality, but U.S. News found the Q5 to be slightly more stylish. Both SUVs have two rows and seat five people.

The Q5 may be ahead in seating, but the X3 wins in cargo space. With above-average space for the class, it has 28.7 cubic feet of room or 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The Q5 has 25.1 cubic feet of storage room, which increases to 53.1 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.

The 2020 Audi Q5 has more standard technology features

The BMW X3 includes more standard features for 2020, but the Audi Q5 still has more than the X3. The Q5 offers a 7-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, two USB ports, and a ten-speaker audio system.

The BMW X3 has a larger touchscreen at 8.8 inches. It’s compatible with Apple CarPlay but not with Android Auto. It does have Bluetooth, HD Radio, one USB port, and a 12-speaker audio system.

The 2020 BMW X3 has a lower starting price

Both the 2020 X3 and 2020 Q5 have high starting prices for their class, but the X3 starts a bit lower; the BMW X3 starts at $41,950. Its trims go up to the top starting price of $76,900 for the new X3 M Competition. The Audi Q5 starts at $43,300. Its top starting price is $62,150 for the SQ5 Prestige.

While both the 2020 BMW X3 and Audi Q5 are great compact luxury SUVs, in the most important areas, the X3 comes out on top. For these reasons, it should be considered a slightly better pick.