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Photo Comparison: 2011 BMW X3 vs. Audi Q5 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLK

BMW X3, Featured Posts | July 15th, 2010 by 94
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Our photo comparison saga is back and the moment we have all been waiting for has come. How will the new BMW X3, the second …

Our photo comparison saga is back and the moment we have all been waiting for has come. How will the new BMW X3, the second generation premium compact SAV, stack up against the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, two of the leaders in this premium segment?

In its second iteration, the 2011 BMW X3 has been redesigned from the ground up. The F25 X3 went through an extensive exterior redesign, aligning the new X3 with the recent designs seen in some of the BMW models. While maintaining the “boxy” look, the 2011 X3 is a half-inch taller, 3.4 inches longer and 1.1 inches wider than the current model.

The design features flared wheel arches and more aggressive design cues. The dynamic side creases around the fenders turn the new X3 into a distinctive model. At the front-end, the corona-ring running lights flanking the twin-kidney grille, and underlined by a fairly sporty bumper, complete the unique look of this X3.

Photo Comparison: 2011 BMW X3 vs. Audi Q5 vs. Mercedes Benz GLK

Photo Comparison: 2011 BMW X3 vs. Audi Q5 vs. Mercedes Benz GLK

The interior syncs up with the recent design approach transposed in the new BMW models. The driver-oriented dashboard connects the driver to its car and the latest iDrive with the 8.8-inch LCD, create a cozy environment.

Since the performance of the new BMW X3 has yet to be officially determined, we will resume for now at a photo comparison between the previously mentioned contenders. As always, we have captured the vehicles from different angles, including interior snapshots of these luxury sports activity vehicles.

[poll id="57"]

  • ferrarifan

    Q5 no doubt. Obviously X3 would win it all in BMWblog

    • viper

      PERFECTLY OBVIOUS.
      EVEN A RETARD COULD SEE THAT.

      • FreudeKing

        I don’t know what BMW was thinking. Look at the picture up there. The X3’s face is bloated! Looks like a fat cat? What happened to modern, sleek and sharp designs? They were so stupid that they made the lights rectangular! Are we in the E36 era??? Absolutely poor effort!

        This standard car is no match for Audi’s Q5 in terms of exterior design. AND MAY I ADD, AUDI’S A5 IS NOT UP TO SCRATCH EITHER! So shame on this design team! This car is not much different from the current X3 with the exception of gaining some fat under the skin due to lack of exercise… and I certainly do not find that attractive.

        • ferrarifan

          “are we in the E36 era???”

          LOL!

    • Roundel Ron

      The Audi Q5 hands down. Too bad infiniti doesn’t make it. and the Ex is S****

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      It wins in the poll, but the number of comments in favor of the Q5 are larger.

      • XC

        Why do you think is that? 40 negative comments versus 370+ positive votes…

        • FreudeKing

          Because a car is not just about exterior and interior looks although it plays one of the biggest roles in buying decisions. But when actually making a choice, most informed readers here knows what crap Audis are, so although it may look better than the X3 standard model, the X3 is the overall winner.

          Most comments are just about the exterior designs as that is what we have info on at the moment.

          • Jay

            Unfortunately, I have news for you FreudeKing – Audis are more reliable than BMW’s. And before you say I’m not “informed”, you should know that I used to work for BMW…

          • Stupfd

            Sorry Jay but you are full of crap. Audi has been plagued with the inherited Volkswagen electrical/electronic issues throwing their reliability rating out the window. They are great vehicles as long as you don’t end up with one with the issues. Even Audi/Volkswagen master mechanics can’t fix them. Read around; there is story after story of issues. I’d rather have you laugh at the look of my vehicle than have someone laugh at me broken down on the side of the road in my new Audi.

          • FreudeKing

            @Jay. Unfortunately, your so called news is only your biased opinion. The fact that you worked for BMW could also signal the fact that you are not seeing the big picture. This is news: BMW are consistently in the top 3 for annual quality and reliability surveys worldwide. Audi is always below average, just a few spots above VW. BMW 3 Series is the most reliable car in the UK. BMW X3 is the most reliable SAV in Europe. BMW’s 1, 3, 5, 7 and X5 are all in the top 3 for having the least number of cuistomer identified problems/ defects in their respective segments.

            So what is your opinion compared to these FACTS and NEWS. If you think your Audi badged VW is more reliable, then go buy one and enjoy half the warranty period that BMW offers (in most countries, not to mention the poor service this VW Group offers). Afterall, if the manufacturer itself knows that their own products are merely rebadged sub-premium cars and offer shorter warranty period, you know they are selling trash. NOT ONE single report would suggest to you that Audis are more reliable than BMWs. I challenge you to find one.

  • Laszlo

    Agree, Q5 without a question. 2nd place the GLK and sadly the “new” X3 falls into a 3rd slot. Only because no more contender though ! Where is the “New” face ? It looks same (bad) as the old one did. I’m sure it will be a great car (Cross-over) to drive but looks like an ugly toad.
    I bet bungle’s hand is in this one still.

    • viper

      spot on.

      • FreudeKing

        I am absolutely disappointed! I think they know it as well, that’s why they waited for the sports package to paunch together, which they normally do not do. They were so scared that people were going to rate their new X3 based on the standard model, which would have given the X3 such bad publicity that the it wouldn’t matter when the better looking sport model comes out.

        But this is a real shame. No wow factor at all. In fact, this standard car might even turn lots of people away and leave a negative impression in people’s minds ito exterior design.

        GLK is the worst looking car in my opinion. The rear of the X3 is better looking than the fat arse Q5 though.

  • Auday

    looks like BMW intentionally make the X3 boring for some reason, the old one was and this one seems to be, but lets wait till we see it on the road.

    • FreudeKing

      It wil still be boring in flesh.

    • stig

      you are all retards…the BMW looks far better than that crappy Q5

  • badger

    The new styling is i guess neutral to suit everyone’s taste. Its not boring or ugly, rather normal and well…not surprising.

    • FreudeKing

      Sorry but I don’t see any new styling here except for the sloping shoulder line on the side, which is not interesting at all. This is a fail in this competitive market.

      Did they forget that they are not the only ones in this market anymore? Customers are not forced to buy their exterior designs as they have more choices.

  • Lariv

    I voted for the Mercedes- Benz GLK because I think it has the nicest exterior, but why isn’t the Volvo XC60 in this comparison? It might not have a German badge on the front but it is arguably the best looking car in it’s class and it has the nicest interior. The Audi looks like a shrunken Q7 and the new X3 looks smarter than the old one but is a bit dull.

    • FreudeKing

      I think the GLK is the ugliest with this squarish design elements. If I wanted to buy share cars, I would have gone back to the 90’s and bought the old E Class.

      Another disappointment is the interior. What’s with all these cheap black plastics? That splash of wood in the middle of the dash on the passenger side is TASTELESS! How long will they take to realise that wood brown and black do not go together? This is one huge disappointment considering the amazing jobs that they have done with the 5, 5GT, 7, Z4 interiors. If you are going to insert wood there, at least put a line of alluminium insert in between to lighten things up.

      The centre dash also seems to be using old technology. One full panel of instruments right down and all in black. This is really poor effort.

      This interior dash design is a step in the wrong direction. Have they not received enough complains about the poor interior quality and feel from their current X3?

      • Jag

        try 360-degree view on BMW site, man. you’ll find some good combinations

  • bmw fan

    It looks like BMW is the next manufacturer to follow the trend of boring flat totally unimpressive designs in this class after GLK and Q5 (trying to avoid “ugly” which was definitely the word for the old X3) . Can’t comment on the driving and engineering – guess they are at the well-known BMW standards, but the look… Absolute fail, a step back

    • FreudeKing

      Absoluetly agree. BORING, FLAT, UNIMPRESSIVE.

      ABSOLUTELY NO WOW FACTOR. MY RATING FROM 0~10 FOR THIS STANDARD MODEL IS 1.

  • Ruslan-Kz

    Impression has spoilt front part. Shape of the front headlights – Q5 copy and came from 90’s. So I voted for manly GLK

    • FreudeKing

      ABSOLUTELY, THOSE RECTANGULAR LIGHTS BELONG IN THE E36 ERA! But I won’t vote for the GLK either. Maybe Volvo has the best looking car in this segment afterall.

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Shincai

    I’m sorry but the GLK is one ugly ….
    Just look at it, I can’t find anything on it that looks good…
    Big front lights, like they came from a truck….

    The Q5 looks nice, same old Audi style.
    BMW is kinda dissapointing, it looks just normal, nothing special, nothing exciting.
    I wouldn’t say it’s boring, because you cant say if it’s boring or not only by looking at it.
    You’ll know if it’s boring when u get to drive it….

    • FreudeKing

      NO WOW FACTOR THAT WE SHOULD BE GETTIN FROM BMW. FAIL.

  • Hamilton

    Obviously the X3 will win in bmwblog… AUDI Q5 FTW!!!

    • FreudeKing

      In my books, the exterior design of the Q5 is the best when comparing the standard models. The X3 with Sports package wins overall.

  • kcsnyud

    Ya but even on the bmwblog everyone is saying they hate the x3 so i dunno… q5 has sleeker look while x3 looks more rugged and jeep-ish.

    • FreudeKing

      Absolutely, there is no one single positive comment about the design of this car here. BMW let us down AGAIN!

      • kcsnyud

        Which car do u like then? Everyone makes bad comments on every single one of bmw’s designs except for the z4. So…. y are u on this blog, and y r u bmw fan? In fact, why r all of u guys bm fans, including me? This is useless.

        • FreudeKing

          A fan does not mean that you have to like crap that your company throws at you. If BMW made a Nano like car, would you be a fan of it too? Sometimes fans expect lots from their admired companies and it is easy to get disappointed when they don’t deliver up to expectations.

          I love the Z4, I love the X6, I love the 7 Series, I love the 1 Series Coupe and 3 Series Coupe and Convert. I believe that these are all products that are good representation of the BMW brand. Oh, I also love the concept cars (CS, VED) that they never seem to bring into production. But this thing is a loaf of bread from the front. What’s with the flat bonnet lid – looks like tin!

          BMW’s design team should think whether the car will wow the public (not in a hideous way! like the 2001 7 Series) and work according to that. It is not enough that only one or two think it is ok looking.

          • kcsnyud

            Oh well, i guess this is ur opinion, then. I for one do not admire bmw’s new design language (interior point), cos the air vents r too small. BMWs were never distinctive anyway, the only things good are the engine sound (i am a bmw fan/lover)

            As for the x3, it fits more with the jeep design language, not the bmw’s (too rugged).
            So that should tell u guys something.

  • valsador

    All ugly and/or indifferent: X3 never was beautiful and the new model continues the tradition, kind of disappointed. Q5 is a typical boring Audi, all look the same and you can find it cheaper as a VW model. As for the GLK: have you ever seen the interior? Commercial trucks look better.

    • FreudeKing

      absolutely, merc interior designers need to get out more to see what class is.

  • P

    The XC60 might also be a leader in the same segment. Or so I’ve read. Am I wrong?

    • FreudeKing

      IT IS THE BEST LOOKING FOR SURE

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000163817321 X5SoB

    BMW had an opportunity to give the X3 some real style(witness the X1), but for some strange reason chose not to. My vote stays with the Q5.

    • FreudeKing

      I agree, a great opportunity missed big time. I will however consider the sports package X3, which is a better looking car.

  • Giom

    I’m really surprised at how many ppl voted for the GLK. I had to laugh when I saw it with the other two. For me, the GLK REALLY looks bad. A box.

    Also worth a mention, it’s a bit unfair to compare the X3 at this stage in photos to the others… we all know, once you see a BMW in the flesh, it looks a lot better and the X3 allready looks great in these photos.

    My vote: X3, because it has the most adventurist styling while being practical. Audi next and GLK in the distance after Volvo and Ford etc.

    • FreudeKing

      I wanted to vomit when looking at the GLK from teh front. It looks like a wrinkly old woman puffed with make up. YUCK

  • Adnan

    you just have to see the glk live to get it, i really it

  • M5POWER

    It’s down to peoples opinion anyway. The Audi Q5 indeed is a great car, but the design is nothing special, just like a typical Audi. Don’t like the rear at all…

    The GLK on the otther hand, just looks boxy. Too boxy in my opinion. Yet to see one in real life but it’s just ugly in my eyes. Sometimes I had a thought it looks like a Toyota but sometimes looks like a Mercedes. The design flow just doesn’t seem to go right.

    Finally, my vote is down to the X3. I think it may not look like a modern car but it’s just a nice car with a good design in my opinion. The interior is also very good + BMW engineering so no doubt. The M-Sport looks miles better…

    XC60 is the real winner I think…

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Shincai

      I agree with that man.
      The Q5 looks like a smaller Q7.
      Mini Q7.

  • ferrarifan

    bmw failed badly on this one… one of the worst bmw designs ever…

    • FreudeKing

      HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT

  • viper

    again bmw fails90% in design.

    the rear is not symmetrical like audi q5 or glk. (all base model bmw’s and higher are not)(looks cheap).

    the side of x3 sucks monkey balls big time. 92ish design.
    the interior is by far the best part of the car. only beats glk’s interior , never Q5.
    it’s better to go safeway like audi did with q5 , a kind of downsized q7 , than bmw way , stay crappy . old x3 big piece of crap , ”NEW” x3 just a piece of crap.
    AUDI all the way. Q5 go for it!
    oh and by 2014 MB will launch 20 of its new models. 20. a new A class is a stunner! a CL cabrio , brand new SL , CLS….and bmw will continue to be at the bottom of design , a NO head turner = bmw.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Shincai

      I don’t know about you but I’m geting bored of the same Audi styles.
      The Q5 looks like a small Q7…
      All their cars look the same…

      • viper

        yet even like that they look better than bmw cars. period.

    • FreudeKing

      In fact, I think the X3 has the best rear design. All the rest is disappointing.

      As for the new Merc models that you are getting excited about… why would you get exceited about the next A class mommy car??? That car is as boring as the Tata Nano. How is that mommy car going to stun me? another “eye shape”design for the side windows and headlights – disguisting!

      • Jag

        big surprise! the headlights on A-Class and S-Class are almost the same.

    • Tom

      You’re annoying.

  • Auday

    glad to see BMW fans speaking their minds out instead of worshiping whatever comes out of Munich blindly.

    This car looks tame and uninspiring at least in pictures. BMW got lots of criticism for the prev X3 design (even from BMW fans) for the same reasons and they came out with a car that looks even more lame than the E83.

    It seems like BMW wants this car to sit in the shadow of the X5 and be an alternative option instead of standing out as a first choice car.

    • FreudeKing

      At least this time they didn’t bring out a car with unsprayed Tata bumpers.

    • FreudeKing

      “It seems like BMW wants this car to sit in the shadow of the X5 and be an alternative option instead of standing out as a first choice car.”

      Well that is pretty arrogant of BMW then. They need to realise that they are not the only one in this market anymore. If they deliberately bring out a car that is not attractive, I am sure other manufacturers will put in the effort to come up with a good car, which will grab sales from both the X3 and X5. The Volvo and Audi comes to mind.

  • XC

    WOW, not surprisingly a lot of hate from the usual haters… The real facts are that this new X3 looks way better than the current model, and I BET it looks much better in person, just like the new 5 series; it looks agressive and purposeful in person, not quite in pics. The MB is not that ugly, I actually think it looks cool in the flesh… and the Audi, well, it’s just another audi… nothing new there.

    BMW NEVER jumps without looking, so EXPECT HUGE SALES from this new X3.

    • FreudeKing

      Who cares about the old X3??? Old X3 is from years ago. We care about how the new X3 stands against current product offerings from rivals.

    • wazon8

      Agree, X1 didn’t look great at first, but in real life circumstances it is great looking car. Most likely similar story will go for X3. Actually, it looks better right now than X1 looked, at least to me. Funny thing is that numbers of critics backed out of their opinion about X1 after seeing it. I don’t care much about X3, but I see that many people expect something since their comments are really emotional. Strange things started happening on this blog. BMW is bashing for being the biggest premium car sellers by people who obviously don’t understand what infromation sales statistics for MB convers (including Smart, for God’s sake). Now crazy reaction on X3. Some even knows what kind of plastic is used basing on photo (sic!). My advice, wait with assessment until to see it personally.

      • XC

        Agree.

    • bob191

      now thats wt am talking abt they nvr produce something unless they look further like 3 years wt will hpn that glk mb is not a vry bad car its jst a new desgin for cars….ppl shdnt understand that car are only 4 wheels a engine and steering wheel if companies ddnt produce new desgins they wd jst be boring no 1 ever is going 2 learn more abt cars rather give them parts of his/her time…..bmw x3 is known in its 4×4 and for all the championships it got… since bmw started manufacturing the x3 they did it for 4×4 rally and it perfectly became the best crossover 4×4 in 2005-2006….bmw wont pay attention for those ppl who say that the q5 is btr coz when the x3 started there was nothing called q5….x3 best in everything the glk is jst a 4×4 box…..the q5 is a small q7 (which makes no sense 2 have 2 typiclly the same car jst some cm differance but with tthousands of dollers in price ).. ..

  • Tom

    love the new x3. so much more aggresive than the merc and that piece of shit audi

    • FreudeKing

      Keep convicing yourself that. Unless you buy the sports packaged X3, your standard X3 will look shittier than the piece of shit audi.

      • Tom

        to each his own, my friend :)

  • paul

    Q5 more sporty then X3…even the X cant be as ugly as the merc…but the interior is really poor…plus as anyone noticed how more and more bmw’s press info is more orientated towards “lifestyle” and shit instead of driving dynamics??? i guess its no surprise as bmw keep getting more and more boring to drive – Z4, new 5, GT and now probably the X3 too with the intro of electric instead of hidraulic drive. I used to buy bimmers not because they were pretty but because they were fun to drive but now they are still ugly and boring drive aswell!!! this company as truly lost its mojo….

    • FreudeKing

      I agree with you , Paul! WAKE UP BMW! Your electric steering is making your cars drive like Toyotas! This whole thing about you needing to pay more to get better suspensions, etc. so that you car can drive like what old BMWs used to drive like is crap! What, you need to pay extra to get a BMW to drive like a BMW??? This is rediculous!

      Interior is also trash. What’s with all these cheap black plastics? That splash of wood in the middle of the dash on the passenger side is TASTELESS! How long will they take to realise that wood brown and black do not go together? This is one huge disappointment considering the amazing jobs that they have done with the 5, 5GT, 7, Z4 interiors. If you are going to insert wood there, at least put a line of alluminium insert in between to lighten things up.
      The centre dash also seems to be using old technology. One full panel of instruments right down and all in black. This is really poor effort.
      This interior dash design is a step in the wrong direction. Have they not received enough complains about the poor interior quality and feel from their current X3?

  • sok

    Ugly car! Stupid team design for this one!
    I’ can’t found any reason why?
    Why are they move back with the design model all the time.
    First the head light for F10 and now for this crap.

  • viper

    jokes aside I really REALLY EXPECTED alot more imagination and style this time from bmw. I thought that this time they will GET IT….
    its like they didnt want this car to be nice looking.and competitive on those fields. maybe it drives well.but thats not what I want nor plenty of other people even you HC kiss arse bmw fans.
    DAMN this (already) old ”NEW” x3….to hell with it.

  • paul

    unfortunately it will sell like shit…a cheap bmw always does…just look at the current X3, and X1btw…selling like crazy

  • JakeM

    For me it’s:

    1st place: Mercedes GLK – the design is unique in this class and it also looks like a smaller retro version of the legendary G class. I quite like the design of the GLK which appears fresh, classic and sporty. My sister also has one and it’s a fun car to drive, so that probably affected my decision.

    2nd place: Audi Q5 – a close second to the GLK. Typical Audi classiness mixed with futuristic design and a hue of conservatism. The Q5 looks good without being exciting. It appears neither sporty or classy, but it does look premium.

    3rd place: BMW X3 – as many have said, it looks boring and “too well behaved”. The original X3 was probably the weakest design in the BMW lineup, but the new X3, although a big improvement, doesn’t win me over at all. Then again, I have to see the car in real life and that can usually sway opinions. Right now, I’m not feeling the design.

    I might take the Volvo XC60 over all of them though.

  • viper

    speaking of XC60 , its the best its class…..I would take that car in a heart beat over x3 q5 and glk…..XC60 is something special. not german but its a great great mini suv.

  • wazon8

    One thing woders me, do you really believe that XC60 is the best car in this class? Since when are cars exhaust by design? Take a nice looking car, no matter that it would drive like shit. Great idea. I guess that you have to spend a lot of time outside your car. I prefer position behind wheel, where exterior design is not of primary priority. But point of view differs with respect to point of sitting. :)

  • wazon8

    Ok, now funny thing. At U.S. market BMW sold in June 2010 724 units of X3 noting 57,7% increase in this month (YTD 3,439 units) and it’s still stats for old generation. But MB sold only 2 units of GLK noting 99,8% decrease (YTD 580 units). Audi is leader in this class since they sold 1964 units of Q5 in June and reached YTD 9754 units. This should tell you much.

    On the other hand Audi suffers badly in X5 segment, where the mentioned car is the leader with 3273 units in June (YTD 15985), followed by M-class with 2124 (YTD 12393) and Audi with 656 units of Q7 (YTD 3338).

    Since I find a lot of similarities between new X3 and X5 and – on the other hand – between Q5 and Q7, I predict that new X3 will cut out nice piece from Audi’s Q5′ cake.

    Out of topic: for those who believe in Audi’s propaganda, take a look on their sales stats: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/audi-june-sales-increase-143-brand-sets-half-year-sales-record-97600064.html and make a comparision with BMW’s: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bmw-group-us-reports-june-2010-sales-97597009.html , espacially when it comes to cars above 50k$. Audi deosn’t look like fully-blooded luxury car seller.

    • kcsnyud

      Owned, audi lovers!

  • Pingback: Photo Comparison: Old vs. New BMW X3

  • Stacy

    voted for the Audi, of the three would buy the BMW.

  • Joe

    X3… Not “sexy”, that is for sure. Not made for those that want to extend their egos with a car. Drive one, for a few minutes or better yet a couple days. Then talk. It runs like a BMW does, it handles better than the other two, and you can drive and drive and not get tired of it. It is not a car for someone wanting to reveal prosperity… It is a car for a smart person that wants to keep it and know it will not fail.

  • Craig

    I am a hardcore BMW fan but I must say the styling on the new X3 is absolutely pitiful. BMW really seems to be headed in the wrong direction. The q5 is a beautiful SUV, aesthetically pleasing from every angle inside and out. The GLK is not bad either from a styling perspective, however, the low quality interior that seems to be prevalent in more and more of the lower end benzes is a bit of a turnoff for me.

    • FreudeKing

      The Q5 is also rather boring and it has a fat ugly butt. But at least it is smooth when looking at it. However, the X3 is a pain to look at, especially from the front. What an ugly car from the front.

  • BMWDriver

    As some that owns two BMW, I have the say the Q5 is by far the best of the three.
    The X3 I am afraid will still retain the title as the ugliest production BMW.

  • http://q5audi.net/ Audi Q5 fan

    Wow, one of the longest debates I’ve ever seen on a blog post i guess! Sorry to say that I prefer the new Q5 guys, though i totally appreciate the new improved X3, and the merc glk.

    But, I am a hardcore Audi fan, so NOTHING else works for me :)

  • http://www.latestautoreviews.com/ Audi Q5 pictures

    Another Audi fan blindly after the new Q5 – huh! Open your eyes and see what experience the crossovers like X6, and even the new X3 is delivering… You’ll forget about Audi Q5 once you test drive 2011 BMW X3 for sure!

  • James

    The X3 and the GLK both look better in real life (X3 much better). The Q5 looks best in pictures. I just researched, drove, and compared all three and ordered an X3. I loved my allroad, but I’m hoping to spend less time in the shop now.

  • Walt

    I would suggest waiting to actually see and drive the nexgen X-3 before praising or panning it. I have owned both ’06 X-3 and ’10 Q-5. The primary reason I moved to the Audi was Space. I frequently have rear seat passengers and if you are over 5 feet tall the X-3 was tight…over 6 feet tall it was downright painful. The Q-5 is a significanly larger vehicle and my rear seat passengers thank me daily. Based on information published so far about the new X-3 it seems that they addressed most of my concerns so I am looking forward to driving one.

    • Pete

      I’m sorry man, but if one thing wasn’t a problem in the X3 it was space. My experience of the Q5 is exactly the opposite.

  • Pete

    The X3 is about much more than the styling: many previous generation owners would tell you it was the most well thought out SAV to live with. The Audi is too dark inside and it’s proportions are not pleasing to me in that it looks like an A3 that is higher off the ground. Speaking of design, in this area only the BMW and Merc can compete since in my opinion the Audi doesn’t have a design at all: it looks exactly like all other Audis.

    1)BMW X3
    2) Mercedes GLK
    3) VW Tiquan (just cause it’s the same car that doesn’t boast that insanely tacky Audi grill)
    4) Audi Q5
    4)

  • Mike R

    I’ve now driven them all. The 2011 X3 seems like a totally different vehicle than the 2010. Completely different suspension tuning.

    In terms of looks, it’s probably:
    XC60
    Q5 or X3
    GLK

    Driving:
    X3 hands down. Surprisingly close to a 3 series–none of the others are close.
    Q5
    XC60
    GLK

    Front Seat Comfort
    X3
    XC60
    Q5 (surprising–Audi usually has my favorite seats in a given class.
    GLK

    Rear Seat–TBD
    Maybe the Q5

    Rough Road Driving (Bumpy Dirt Roads, not Crawling):
    XC60–better clearance, more appropriate suspension.
    X3
    Q5
    (didn’t go there with the GLK)

    Other
    XC60 wins for safey and value. Family friendly features. The 2011.5 interior resolves the major complaints against it. And the 2011.5 exterior is even better.
    X3 got the seat right. Comfortable and supportive. Great balance between ride comfort and handling.
    Q5 very bland. But the adjustable rear seats kept it in the running for my tall family.
    GLK–not a contender here.

    It’s down to the X3 and XC60. Finally test drives, with family for fit, and a variety of conditions tomorrow.

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  • Mike R

    As mentioned in my previous post, I’d driven the X3 (328i), Q5 (3.2L Prestige), XC60 (T6 AWD), and GLK. Having crossed the GLK off the list (see previous), I took the remaining three out again for an extended drive, mixed of highway, city, and a rough dirt road. And here’s where I’m at:

    In terms of looks—which is really a bit criterion for me, but it is for many, it’s:
    XC60—looks different and better than anything in this class. It’s seems the 2011.5 has a couple minor exterior tweaks the make it even better.
    X3—it doesn’t scream original, but it says BMW to me, an I like that.
    Q5—some people rave, I find it very vanilla in person. Just not very appealing.

    Driving:
    X3 still hands down. Don’t compare the 2011 to the previous generation. A totally different vehicle. Performs great—and smooth on rough city streets. Don’t even feel the potholes. Complaint—very twitchy at low speeds. They don’t quite have the transmission figured out down there. About 20-25 mph, though, amazing. The others aren’t close. Handles better than most sedans. And even the 328 engine beats anything in the Q5. Didn’t drive the 335—but I’d expect a sweet ride.
    Q5 a good bit behind the X3. Steering a bit syrupy. Least oomph.
    XC60 right behind the Q5. A bit more roll than the Q5. More power. Best on very rough roads, even though. Better clearance, and the X3 suffered at low speeds with a transmission that couldn’t find its home. (Bottomed out the X3 and Q5 on one point, didn’t the XC60.)

    Interior
    XC60-I can hear the Audi fans groaning. Just different taste. The 2011.5 with Sensus is clean and simple (a big improvement over previous). I like the center console.
    Q5-Very nice, just preferred the XC60.
    X3-Not as bad as I’ve heard people complain. In fact, I wonder if they’ve been in the new model. But not as nice as the other two.

    Front Seat Comfort
    XC60 This is the seat the felt best in a rapid comparison and a hour-plus drive. I just melted into in. The X3 felt good initially, and I thought I’d like the longer haul support. But wasn’t comfortable primarily because of leg room.
    X3 /Q5 overall tie (surprising–Audi usually has my favorite seats in a given class. I liked the X3 better, but leg room suffered. I’m 6’5”.)

    Rear –a toss up. 6′ adullts fit comfortably in all three.

    So, what did I buy?
    I went with the XC60, T6 AWD, Seashell metallic, Climate package, technology package, BLIS. Overseas delivery—I pick it up in Sweden in a couple of months.
    The BMW—I really wanted this one. It was my favorite to drive. Had I fit in the seat better, it would have been an easy decision. If you 6’2″ or less, and you’re looking in this class, the X3 might be the car for you! The new model is very different than the old, and it’s definitely worth a test drive. (I still wish I’d fit better–nice vehicle!)
    The Audi? Just didn’t do it for me. And the way the slice up the different trims and options make it hard to get exactly what I want.
    Others: The Ford Edge is butt ugly, but worth a drive. The new Subaru Outback might still be a good alternative for some—unfortunately, too small for me, and the new version, which they’ve made bigger, doesn’t handle as well as the old version. (The old model actually compared pretty favorably to the new BMW in most senses, although not quite as comfortable a ride.)

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      Mike, thanks for the great review.

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