Comparison: BMW X1 vs. Audi Q5

BMW X1 | July 3rd, 2009 by 17
bmw x1 audi q3 01

Even though many of the auto journalists and car fans are already starting to compare the BMW X1 to Audi’s upcoming Q3, we are going …

Even though many of the auto journalists and car fans are already starting to compare the BMW X1 to Audi’s upcoming Q3, we are going to take a different approach and actually compare it against the Q5.

The reason for that is that X1 jumped into the BMW line-up as an entry level SAV, a replacement for the current X3 which will relaunch next year with a new design and larger size.

By taking the  proportions of the first generation X5, the X3 has left an empty spot that BMW has quickly filled it with the new compact SAV X1. As you will see in our short comparison, the exterior dimensions of the two cars are close to each other and since we don’t have the specifications of the future Q3 model, this will have to do for now.

Exterior Dimensions

The BMW X1 measures 175.35 inches (4,453 mm) in length, while the Audi Q5 measures 182 inches(4,622 mm). The width different is even less, 74 inches(1,879 mm) for the Q3 and 70.78 inches(1,798 mm) for the X1. In height, the Audi Q3 measures 65.1  inches(1,653 mm), while the X1 stops the measuring tape at 60.82 inches(1,545 mm).

bmw x1 audi q3 02 655x245

The difference between the two cars shortens even more when we are looking at the wheelbase length. The X1 has a wheelbase of 108.6 inches and the Q5, 110 inches.

Even though we don’t have the ground clearance exact dimensions, judging by these photos, we can clearly see that this is an area that the Q5 differentiate itself more from the X1. The Q5 gives more an impression of an SUV, while the X1 stands out as a combination between a Touring and SAV model.


Since only the X1 German pricing is available at this time, we will going to compare them against the German edition of the Q5. And here is where the two cars start to differentiate more. The 34,400 euros X1 xDrive20d could be compared to the Q5 2.0 TDI which has a base price of 38,800, a significant difference that tells us that we’re looking at two different classes..

The most expensive X1 model is the gasoline powered xDrive28i with a price of 41,500 euros. In contrast, the high-end 3.2 FSI Q5 stops the money count at 46,900 euros.

The conclusion that can be drawn from here is that the two cars are not meant to go head-to-head against each other and that they indeed target different customers. When the Q3 will be out, we should have better metrics and be able to make a more fair assessment.

And to spice up things even more, we decided to make some comparative photos of the BMW X1 and Audi Q5, hoping that we will get your input as well.

17 responses to “Comparison: BMW X1 vs. Audi Q5”

  1. Lance says:

    I must say that the X1 is growing on me. The more I look at it, the more I love it. The marketing with younger, more active people is also convincing me that it is the right car for me:) I am tempted to trade in my hatch for the X as my next car when I change my car again!

    The Q5 makes the X1 look like beauty when put side by side. The X1 is definately more visually striking with more presence and interesting design wereas the Q5 is bland and boring. The Q5’s rear end is extremely ugly when compared to the X1.

    Inetrior wise, the Q5 is no match for BMW’s X1. BMW’s interior is visusally more attractive with decent quality material unlike the Q5.

    Although the Q5 is suppose to be compared against the X3, I have no doubt that the Q5 will not even match the X1. The X1 seems to be very well packaged with good quality, performance and interesting design style. Lots of tech advanced gadgets and very sporty as well. If I had to choose, I would definately go for the X1 -which definately feels that it’s worth more than the Q5. The BMW X1 suits my style more than a VW Q5.

  2. toren says:

    Please edit your article for typos prior to publishing. Q1, Q3 or Q5? Also, .it is an unfair comparison. and just a lot of blather until the Q3 appears. Or, pricewise, maybe you will be able to buy a q5 for x1 money?!

    • Horatiu B. says:

      I could find a million reasons why there was a typo, but you’re right, I didn’t check it thoroughly this time.

      And to answer the Q5 vs X5 comparison: I could give you at least 3 reasons why I decided to do this

      1. In size, they are not very different from each other
      2. The Q5 is out, so that’s the closest Audi SUV that I could compare it against. The Q3 is coming at a much later date and we don’t even know how the production model will look like.
      3. Sometimes it’s ok to step out of the monotony of the regular articles and do something different…..

  3. Current BMW owner says:

    Thanks for the comparison. I think it’s an appropriate one as the two SUVs are very similar in dimensions. Even though I like the X1 a lot, I think the Q5 looks better, especially the headlights. The only thing I can’t stand is the ugly Audi grille; nothing can beat the twin kidneys.

    The Q5 is highly acclaimed and seems to beat all its competitors in various comparison tests. It’s going to be a tough act for the X1 to follow.

    • Lawrence says:

      The new BMW grille from 7 is not that great. But I think Merc has the best new grille (not the original but the sports one). This X1 grille is nothing special though.

      I agree with Lance, X1 is new, seems very capable and most of all, it is a very exciting car (or at least marketed as such). The Q5,, to me, seems boring as well. Interior is also much better than Q5 in terms of design and material.

      I would go for the X1 over the Q5.

  4. ferrarifan says:

    time to change the name from bmwblog to bmwfanboyblog.. lets see this comparison in some other blogs like autoblog and see the results. i believe 7-8 inches in length difference is quite big.. its a totally different class to begin with, and it justifies the pricing.. also we know that audi sells cheaper in USA. 7 speed dry dual clutch transmission and direct injection anyone? led lights all around and adaptive suspension and audi drive select? panoramic moonroof and not to mention interior space.. its funny how last week, people were saying how they dont like the x1 and now everyone seems to like it so much when compared to a rival.. i like both of them but come on..

  5. wazon says:

    I think that it is not good idea to compare cars from very different segments, after all Q5 is delayed challenge against X3 and it’s pretty compeling challenge, which shouldn’t surprise since Audi started to work at Q5 after X3 details was announced. When you are looking for something like X1 in Audi’s offer, you won’t find nothing that enough similar to X1. And it’s great for BMW because they find once again (as it was with X3) segment in which any other top german concern has competing car. We have to wait for Q3 and then do comparision between X1 and Q3. Presently there is no car which could be compare with X1.

  6. Tuesmq says:

    Being a BMW driver, I think Q5 looks terrific – it strikes a great balance. Interior is also very good looking.

    X1 looks fine to me – aggressive and athletic, but certainly not the type of emotion I’d get from seeing the new Z4. The black bumper at the front and coated rear bumper cheapens the look of the vehicle. Maybe the ZSP package will make things all body color. X3 tried that before and it looked lousy.

  7. BA says:

    I do like the X1, but overall Q5 has a better look

  8. tahar says:

    i think the audi with the( galvanisé carrosserie ) is more better than the x1

  9. arjun says:

    i think that x1 is much better than the q5.the interior of x1 is much better.the q5 gives an ugly look from the back as compared to x1.i think x1 would be perfect for me.

  10. d3eez says:

    Interesting comparison.  You have to wonder who styled the X1.  Against the cohesive design of the Q5, the X1 has odd proportions and appears disjointed.  I think the writer got it when he commented that it appears more touring than SUV… unfortunately I think that design direction is not working.  BMW already has wagons (which look great)… just design a sweet looking compact SUV!  The clumps of black trim and fog lights just hanging in the bumper do not help either.     
    I did see one on the road briefly and perhaps it is just the white colour in these photos as it did look better in-person (and in a light metallic colour).  We desperately need more better looking BMWs on the roads these days… Do like that 1 series M though.  

  11. Edwin Wood says:

    Just got my new X1 delivered. My first impression was that it’s smaller from inside than it appears in the photos and the rear seat leg space seems to be relatively tight. But what the heck, it’s fun to drive and looks-wise far better than my neighbour’s Q5. Beside looks, X1 beats Q5 in every performance aspect – be it pick-up speed or fuel economy. 

    So my view is if you want more boot space then buy a Q5 (or even better buy a pick-up wan), If you want a SAV that is fun to drive, and is much more economical to drive then buy the X1! 

  12. Krish44559 says:

    bmw x1 cumin on 15th aug 2011

  13. Snow boy says:

    BMW x1 is top suv car in world. And it’s have deep beauty. Love it

  14. Lolol says:

    In Tibet there have so many top suv cars,like toyota SUVs. And many other SUVs from many great car company from around world. If the BMW saying it’s the best. Then BMW should have BMW dealer in Tibet. Cos,tibet is top of world and there have many montian road, ice road and snow road. Am I right???

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