Audi Q7 vs BMW X5: Can The Facelifted Audi Take The Throne?

Mercedes GLE aside, the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 are the best-selling German luxury midsize SUVs in America. Whereas BMW SUVs are typically associated with a spirited drive and bold styling, Audi SUVs are known for their focus on passenger comfort and smart styling. 

Does that still hold true for the latest models? Let’s find out—today we’ll be comparing the new facelifted 2020 Audi Q7 to the 2020 BMW X5, and declaring one of the two a winner. 

Price 

The Audi Q7 and X5 are competitively priced, and both start from just under $60,000. However, the Q7 has better standard features on lower trims. 

The price gap isn’t significant, but if you’re looking to spend the least, the Audi Q7 is cheaper. That’s because they offer it with a 2.0-liter engine, whereas the BMW X5 base model features a 3.0-liter straight-six. 

BMW X5 charges a premium for all-wheel drive, pushing the price above $60k. All-wheel drive is standard across the Q7 range. To get a third row of seats in the X5 you’ll also need to option it, whereas it’s standard on the Q7. These options further increase the price gap, meaning the BMW X5 often ends up costing more than the Audi Q7.

The new Audi Q7 looks much better than its predecessor

Design

New styling makes the 2020 Q7 one of the most sophisticated looking Audis yet. But those seeking a meaner and sportier look will love the X5.

The Audi Q7 was undoubtedly one of the most boring looking SUVs on the market back in 2019. Its design hadn’t changed since 2015 and it couldn’t compare to the aggressive styling of the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE or futuristic Lexus RX. 

But new styling tweaks such as a redesigned grille, new side sills, chrome trim for the tailgate and revised exhaust tips, has made the facelifted Audi Q7 a much more attractive SUV than it was. It looks modern and oozes class and conservatism.

Meanwhile, the BMW X5 remains as stylish as ever, with its mean dual-kidney grilles giving it that mean look we love about BMWs. While the body dimensions are almost identical to the Q7, the X5 somehow has more visual presence on the road, whereas the Q7 looks a bit like a beefed up station wagon. 

Overall the two SUVs are both attractive in their own right. The design changes to the Q7 bring it up to par, and ultimately it’s your call as to which vehicle suits your design tastes better.

Interior

The new Q7 interior feels more modern and less cluttered than the interior of the X5 (which is also excellent).

Ask me back in 2019 which interior I prefer and the answer would be simple—BMW X5. It has only just entered its fourth generation (G05) in 2018 and the interior was the best in the business. Meanwhile the Audi interior, though decent, was showing signs of age with its rather dull dashboard and old-school pop-out infotainment display. 

The new Audi Q7 interior feels spacious and modern

However, for 2020, Audi have completely redone the interior. Interiors are definitely Audi’s strong suit, and the new Q7 interior is simply stunning. An immaculate, uncluttered look with premium, soft-touch materials throughout. Two high definition displays in the middle blend in nicely, as opposed to the old pop out system. And of course, the industry leading Audi Virtual Cockpit digital driver display makes sure all the important information is presented to the driver in a helpful way. 

It’s difficult to fault the X5’s interior, especially when upgraded

The 2020 X5 interior is still excellent, though, and it’s difficult to think of a better interior (before the facelifted Q7 came into existence, that is). High quality soft-touch materials are employed everywhere, even those places hidden from sight which are often culprits of cheap, scratchy plastics. Like the Audi, a wide touchscreen with click wheel and gesture controls comes as standard, although those hoping to use Android Auto will be out of luck—it’s only Apple CarPlay compatible. 

Overall, the new Q7 interior is ahead of the X5’s. But make no mistake, these are the best interiors you’ll find on the market, beating out the likes of the Mercedes GLE and Lexus RX (when you factor in its poor infotainment interface).

Passenger Space and Comfort

The Audi Q7 is a 7-seater, whereas the X5 is a 5-seater unless optioned with a third-row of seats. The Q7’s rear seats can also recline and slide back and forth, unlike the X5’s.

One of the Audi Q7’s biggest advantages over its competitors is the fact that it comes with a third row as standard. This means it can seat up to 7 passengers. 

By comparison, the BMW X5 is a natural 5 seater. There is the option to add a third row, but the configuration is a little more clunky and doesn’t feel as well thought out as the Q7.

While the BMW X5 offers slightly more headroom (40.7 inches vs 39.9 inches at the front), the Audi Q7 is roomier for passengers in the back. The Q7 offers middle row passengers 38.8 inches of legroom compared to the 37.4 inches of legroom in the back of the X5.

Not only that, middle row seats in the Audi Q7 are reclining and can slide back or forth. As comfortable as the BMW X5 rear-row seats are, the inability to recline them means the Audi Q7 is the more comfortable SUV for passengers.

The X5 has a split tailgate

Practicality

Both SUVs are very comparable when it comes to cargo volume. However, the split tailgate of the X5 makes it easier to load cargo. 

When the third row is folded down in the Q7, it has 35.7 cubic feet of space in the trunk. That’s slightly more than the X5’s 33.9 cubic feet. 

However, when all seats are folded down, the X5 has a slightly larger capacity of 72.3 cubic feet. The Q7 has 69.9 cubic feet when all seats are down. 

A nice feature of the BMW X5 is its electronic split tailgate. This makes it more convenient to put things into the trunk.

Powertrain

The Audi Q7 can be had with a 2.0-liter or 3.0-liter engine. The base model X5 has a 3.0-liter engine and BMW also offer a 4.4-liter engine.

Whereas the Audi Q7 comes with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (45 TFSI) or 3.0-liter six-cylinder (55 TFSI), the base model BMW X5 features a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. 

The X5 has even more powerful engines available: a beastly 4.4-liter V8 on the xDrive50i and M50i models. 

Comparing the 3.0-liter six-cylinder engines you can get on the Q7 and X5, numbers are very close. The Audi Q7 produces 329 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The BMW X5 produces 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Both vehicles are fast off the line, although the BMW can do 0-60 mph in 5.2s, compared to the Q7’s 5.7s. 

It’s also worth noting that whereas the Audi Q7 has quattro all-wheel drive across the range, the X5 is either rear-wheel drive (sDrive) or all-wheel drive(xDrive). 

This makes the Audi Q7 the more affordable option for those who simply want all-wheel drive, especially if you are content with the smaller, 2.0-liter 45 TFSI engine.  

Both SUV match their engines with 8-speed automatic transmissions. 

Fuel Economy

The BMW X5 offers better gas mileage than the Q7 (unless you opt for the 4.4-liter engine).

The Audi Q7 (in either engine configuration) achieves 19/25 mpg (city/highway) for a combined 21 mpg. 

The 3.0-liter BMW is slightly more fuel efficient, 21/26 mpg (city/highway) and a combined 23 mpg. Note that this drops to 20/26 mpg when all-wheel drive is chosen.

Of course, the larger engined X5s (xDrive50i and M50i) have the lowest gas mileage of all. 

Despite its size, the X5 feels sporty and agile

Drive Experience

The BMW X5 has a sportier feel and more responsive transmission. The Audi Q7 isn’t so exciting to drive, but delivers a very smooth ride.

The Audi Q7 delivers a comfortable, if somewhat unremarkable driving experience. The 45 TFSI model can feel a little underpowered, so it’s worth considering the 55 TFSI for a little more oomph. 

The Q7’s gearbox isn’t bad, but at times it feels a little slow to respond. The steering also feels very slightly over-assisted, but these shortcomings are made up for by the fact the ride is ultra smooth and the cabin is tightly insulated from outside noise.

Meanwhile, the BMW X5 is definitely the SUV for the spirited driver. As always, the BMW steptronic suspension is absolutely excellent, the vehicle feels well planted and it’s definitely the sportier feeling vehicle. You can also go for the M Sport package for stiffer suspension and thinner run flat tyres for an even more sporty drive. 

Safety

The Audi Q7 fared better in NHTSA crash testing.

Both the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 fared well in crash tests conducted by NHTSA, IIHS and Euro NCAP. 

Results for this year’s models aren’t out yet, but we can use last year’s results as a reference (the vehicle structures are the same).

The Audi Q7 was given the highest possible 5-star overall safety rating by the NHTSA. The BMW X5 scored slightly lower and received a 4-star overall rating. 

Both SUVs have 6 airbags and essential safety assists like frontal collision warning, blind spot detection and pedestrian detection. Other driver assists like adaptive cruise control can be added on, but do not come as standard.

Verdict

Thanks to the updated interior and various styling tweaks to the exterior, the Audi Q7 has really made a comeback. It is a natural 7-seater and passengers will enjoy a more comfortable ride than on the X5. Those who plan to drive in rougher conditions will also appreciate quattro all-wheel drive coming as standard.

However, the X5 definitely does what BMW does best—provide the ultimate driving experience. A better gearbox and options for more powerful engines spoils those behind the wheel.

While the BMW X5 was previously our favorite midsize luxury SUV, we’re happy to place the new Q7 up there alongside it. We’d definitely recommend booking a test drive in both to help you narrow your search. 

Full Comparison Table

Premium 45 TFSI quattro ($54,800)
xDrive40i Sports Activity Vehicle ($61,200)
Engine and Transmission
Engine
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
Horsepower
248 hp @ 5000 rpm
335 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque
273 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
330 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Transmission
8-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain
Other
All-Wheel Drive
Steering
Steering Type
Rack-Pinion
Rack-Pinion
Turning Diameter
40.7 ft
41.3 ft
Wheels
Front Wheel Size
19″ x 8.5″
19″ x 9″
Rear Wheel Size
19″ x 8.5″
19″ x 9″
Suspension
Front Suspension
Multi-Link
Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension
Multi-Link
Multi-Link
Tires
Front Tire
P255/55HR19
P265/50HR19
Rear Tire
P255/55HR19
P265/50HR19
Fuel Tank
Fuel Tank Capacity
22.5 gallons
21.9 gallons
Exterior Dimensions
Length
199.6 in
194.3 in
Height
68.5 in
68.7 in
Max Width
77.5 in
78.9 in
Front Width
66.1 in
66.1 in
Rear Width
66.6 in
66.9 in
Wheelbase
117.9 in
117.1 in
Interior Space
Seating Capacity
7 seater
5 seater
Front Seat Leg Room
41.7 in
39.8 in
Front Seat Headroom
39.9 in
40.8 in
Front Seat Shoulder Room
59.5 in
60 in
Rear Seat Leg Room
38.8 in
37.4 in
Rear Seat Headroom
38.8 in
38.7 in
Rear Seat Shoulder Room
58.5 in
58.1 in
Infotainment
HD Radio
Standard
Standard
Bluetooth Connection
Standard
Standard
Hard Disk Drive Media Storage
Not Available
Standard
Premium Sound System
Not Available
Optional
Satellite Radio
Standard
Optional
Smart Device Integration
Standard
Standard
WiFi Hotspot
Standard
Optional
Auxiliary Audio Input
Standard
Standard
Entertainment System
Not Available
Optional
MP3 Player
Standard
Standard
Interior Trim
Bucket Seats
Standard
Not Available
Cloth Seats
Standard
Standard
Leather Seats
Standard
Standard
Leather Steering Wheel
Standard
Standard
Premium Synthetic Seats
Standard
Standard
Vinyl Seats
Standard
Standard
Woodgrain Interior Trim
Standard
Not Available
Sun/Moonroof
Standard
Standard
Comfort
Head-Up Display
Not Available
Optional
Navigation System
Standard
Standard
Steering Wheel Audio Controls
Standard
Standard
Power Liftgate
Standard
Standard
Power Mirror(s)
Standard
Standard
A/C
Standard
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Not Available
Optional
Automatic Parking
Not Available
Optional
Climate Control
Standard
Standard
Cooled Front Seat(s)
Not Available
Optional
Cooled Rear Seat(s)
Not Available
Not Available
Cruise Control
Standard
Standard
Hands-Free Liftgate
Standard
Not Available
Heated Front Seat(s)
Standard
Standard
Heated Rear Seat(s)
Optional
Optional
Heated Steering Wheel
Optional
Optional
Keyless Entry
Standard
Standard
Multi-Zone A/C
Standard
Standard
Power Driver Seat
Standard
Standard
Power Passenger Seat
Standard
Standard
Remote Engine Start
Not Available
Optional
Remote Trunk Release
Standard
Standard
Seat Memory
Standard
Standard
Universal Garage Door Opener
Standard
Standard
Seat-Massage
Not Available
Optional
Rear A/C
Standard
Standard
Keyless Start
Standard
Standard
Navigation from Telematics
Not Available
Not Available
Telematics
Standard
Standard
Safety Features
Back-Up Camera
Standard
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Optional
Standard
Rear Parking Aid
Standard
Standard
Blind Spot Monitor
Optional
Standard
Lane Departure Warning
Standard
Standard
Lane Keeping Assist
Not Available
Optional
ABS
Standard
Standard
Night Vision
Not Available
Optional
Tire Pressure Monitor
Standard
Standard
Brake Assist
Standard
Standard
Stability Control
Standard
Standard
Traction Control
Standard
Standard
Airbags
Driver Air Bag
Standard
Standard
Front Head Air Bag
Standard
Standard
Front Side Air Bag
Standard
Standard
Knee Air Bag
Not Available
Standard
Passenger Air Bag
Standard
Standard
Rear Head Air Bag
Standard
Standard
Rear Side Air Bag
Optional
Not Available
Seatbelt Air Bag
Not Available
Not Available
Warranty Summary
Basic
4 Years / 50,000 Miles
4 Years / 50,000 Miles
Corrosion
12 Years / Unlimited Miles
12 Years / Unlimited Miles
Drivetrain
4 Years / 50,000 Miles
4 Years / 50,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance
4 Years / Unlimited Miles
4 Years / Unlimited Miles