Ah, a Battle of Bavarian Brutes. Sounds like fun. A decade ago, a test between BMW and Audi that would have excited us would have been something along the lines of an M3 versus an RS4. Now, though, we get two massive, overly-heavy, overly-priced, entirely superfluous SUVs that only seem sporty because the automakers tell us they are. Times have certainly changed. In this new Auto Express test, we take a look at the BMW X6 and the Audi Q8, the latest SUV “Coupes” to grace the market.
I enjoyed reading this comparison test because I’ve spent a lot of time in both cars and reviewed them both separately. So it was interesting to see how AE’s findings compare with my own. So how did these two brutish luxury SUVs compare?
Both the BMW X6 and Audi Q8 in the test were almost identically-equipped. They both had 3.0 liter turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engines, all-wheel drive and sport packages. They had similar power and performance, so there was no real advantage to either car in that regard. Also, both cars handle well enough but their real talents lie in luxury, so they’re similar in their target audience.
Where the cars began to separate themselves is in handling, comfort and practicality. The BMW X6 was deemed to be more comfortable than the Audi Q8, which is surprising considering the latter car’s as-standard air suspension, but not by too much. However, on the flip side, the Q8 masks its heft better than the X6 and is a bit more nimble but the X6 still handles itself surprisingly well.
However, the Q8 pulled ahead of the X6 in this test thanks to its slightly better interior materials, extra interior space and bigger trunk. Having tested both cars extensively, I’d have gone with the same result as well. The Audi Q8 is car that I actually hate to love. As a car, I think it’s utterly ridiculous, just as I do the X6, but its execution is so good that it’s almost impossible to hate. While the BMW X6 is good, its coupe-like shortcomings are more glaring than those in the Q8, which somehow manages to be stylish and practical at the same time.
While both cars are very similar; with similar strengths and weaknesses; it’s the Audi Q8 that has fewer weaknesses than the X6 and is less compromised by its “coupe” styling.