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Old 12-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #1
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Default My review 2014 Q5 TDI vs 2013 BMW X3 35i

As my signature would show, I have been a dedicated BMW owner. Love the vehicles and still do. This is our first Audi and so far we're loving every minute of ownership.

Thought I'd give a first impressions review of the vehicles noting the differences and my layman's take on the vehicles. I'm no technical expert. I just love fine craftsmanship & engineering. Both manufacturer's provide this. As most things are subjective you would be well advised to drive both vehicles yourself to determine your likes and dislikes. I'm not interested in 0-60 times or HP / torque comparisons. We just are not those kinds of drivers (don't worry, we'll get out of your way). Our driving focuses on refinement, luxury, quality, comfort and convenience.

With that said it's important to note that no production vehicle is perfect. There will always be some things you wish were different.

Styling (Exterior)
Probably the most subjective item in any owner's selection process. Both vehicles have their own unique styling. The notable difference we encountered is the Q5 felt smaller or more compact while not giving up space. I did not refer to any dimensions but for my wife (primary driver) the Q5 feels more compact and easier to drive. For me, the cleaner of the vehicle, I notice it is shorter in height.

Styling (Interior)
Also very subjective but I think the Q5 feels a little more luxurious. It might be the quality of the materials & the layout of the configuration but I'd say the X3 feels a little sportier. The red accent lighting of the Q5 vs the now dated orange of the X3 makes the cabin feel more luxurious in the Audi. The seats in the Q5 provide more adjustment (lumbar adjustment) over the X3 and feel more comfortable. The X3 seats while comfortable feel more sporty. Seem to "hug" the driver more. We prefer the location of the seat memory switches in the Q5.

Functionality (MMI vs iDrive)
It may be because we are still learning the Q5 interface but I find the directional selection **** a little counterintuitive. Still getting used to the "up" vs "down" selection. Both are good. Just different. Climate control adjustments in the X3 are a little easier to use. The dedicated buttons for air flow adjustment are quick and easy. The additional ability to fine tune the temperature of the middle vents in the X3 is a definite like for us. A big "miss" for us in the Q5 is the lack of a heated steering wheel. This is something a lot of Albertans like. I'm sure Audi will make this change in next gen Q5. Also missing in the Q5 is the ability to have text & email messages read to you. While every change in OS brings challenges for BMW it's something I'm surprised to see missing in the Q5. Interesting note though is that my observations have changed from "surprised it's missing" to "maybe this is a good thing - safety".

I prefer the X3 multi function steering wheel and driver's side window adjustments. While both have similar functions the X3 is a little easier to use (I.e. answering the phone, volume control, cruise control) What I don't like about the X3 cruise control is you have to turn the system on first before setting the cruise. This is not the case in the Q5. Adjusting the mirrors in the Q5 is puzzling. Turning a **** (Q5) to fold mirrors vs pushing a button (X3) is noticeability harder and seems "clunky". What we do like about the Q5 is the ability to program automatic folding of side mirrors. X3 does not permit this.

Audio / Entertainment
Like the iPod integration better in the X3 (easier access - storage compartment vs glovebox) Album art bigger display in X3. Puzzling that a 2014 Q5 does not come with a Lighting connector for iPod. 30 pin only? Weird. X3 uses USB integration in storage compartment and works well.

B & O System vs Harmon Kardon. Score this one for Q5. While the X3 gives you an equalizer to adjust listening components, the B & O feels a little more realistic and better at low volume levels. A small thing but I like the volume indicator on the B & O. X3 does not have this. Interesting that the reception of Sirius Satellite radio is better in the Q5. Not sure why but noticeable.

Navigation
I like the size of the screen better in the X3. The Q5 could be a bit bigger but it is fine. I prefer the information provided in the Q5 over the X3. Seems to be a little more of it. I like the X3's ability to "split screen" the display to show both radio/media & a small navigation screen in one display. Have not used the Q5 navigation enough to speak to accuracy but so far things seem fine and comparable to the X3.

Driving
By far the biggest difference and reason we bought the Q5 was the availability of a diesel. At time of purchase the current X3 is/was not offered with a diesel engine. It's our first diesel and so far we love it. Other than the noticeable noise level change & vibration (minor) at idle the TDI is exceptionally quiet. We are really excited about the gas mileage improvement. The performance difference is marginal for us.

Ride
Both vehicles have some form of ride/driving dynamics change ability. Not much difference here. We have noticed the Comfort Mode of the Q5 provides a little more comfortable ride than the Normal Mode in the X3. The ability to adjust setting to an Individual preference in the Q5 may be useful for some. Not us.

The little things:
Windshield wipers. I like the Q5 "extra" wipe a few seconds after use of washer fluid. Cleans up the last few dribbles. Maybe surprising to some, I'm not a fan of the headlight washers. Had them in my X6. I'm a clean freak and find these come on too often and leave residual.

Automatic tailgate. I like that the X3 has a button to both close and a separate button to lock the vehicle. The Q5 only closes the tailgate. I wish both had the function of closing the tailgate with the remote.

Tires. I like that Audi chooses NOT to use run-flat tires. While lots have been written (over done) about the ride of run-flat, the deal breaker for me is the expense difference. I'd use run-flat if there was not as much cost difference.

Rear wiper. Don't know if it's a design thing but the X3 rear wiper works better. It also may be that BMW chooses to spread washer fluid from the top vs the Q5 spraying from the bottom. Seems pretty basic engineering that water flows with gravity. At any rate, works better in the BMW.

Lighted door handles on the X3 after closing or pressing the remote to unlock posts a nice light around the vehicle at night. Not available on Q5.

Advanced key (Q5) vs Comfort Access (X3) The ability to use the back doors on the Q5 is better. X3 does not permit this.

Roadside Assistance. I forgot how long the Q5 roadside assistance is for but the fact that I don't have to pay $200 per year for this (BMW Assist) is nice. Always thought that this was a good cash grab for BMW given that premium vehicles don't (shouldn't) break down as much. I will say we were glad to have it on wife's 28i given a battery issue. Boosted and back on our way in a short amount of time on a frigid winter day.

Moveable rear seats. We are dog owners and the ability to move the rear seats forward makes the use of our dog crate perfect. The X3 does not permit this, so we have to fold seats down. While speaking of rear seats the location of lever to fold down rear seats easier in Q5. We note that the X3 rear seats fold flatter than the Q5.

Sun Roof. Q5 is bigger and of better quality. The X3 has an inherent design flaw. There are numerous maintenance instances of "squeaking" during cold weather on the X3. Our 28i had it and now my 35i has it. I find the ease of use better in the X3 though. I prefer pushing buttons vs turning *****. We like the ability to close the semi-transparent sunshade in the Q5 over the opaque sunshade of the X3.

Side Assist. I was surprised at how much I appreciate this feature in the Q5. Very well thought out by Audi. Not intrusive at all and very useful. Not available in the X3

Sunglass holder. Q5 has one in the overhead section. BMW does not. We like this. Just wish it was bigger for bigger glasses.

Privacy cover. X3 retractable type better than Q5. A sectional hard cover cumbersome and does not permit as much access.

Getting "picky" items... Always hated the "pull interior door lever" TWICE to exit vehicle (safety) on BMW's. Q5 does not do this. Think how much time I'll save now? LOL.

Clock. A little thing but there are 2 clocks in the X3. Only 1 in the Q5.

Speed indicator. Really like the redundant (digital) display of speed in the Q5

"Told you I was a clean freak"... the Audi "cheese grater" grill is going to kill me. This is much harder to wipe clean than the kidney grill in the X3

Quite possible that while I learn the nuances of the Q5 my opinion may change. Additionally, I may be missing something things from an accuracy on the Q5 but hope this helps some when comparing the two vehicles.

I'm curious to see how the build quality holds up over time with the Q5. BMW has been pretty good but with ever increasing models added to lineups, build quality will be pressed.

At any rate we think we have the best of both worlds. Love both vehicles.
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Current:
(Her) 2014 Q5 TDI Technik, S-Line, Navigation, B & O, Glacier White c/w Black Interior

(Him) 2014 Q5 TDI Technik, S-Line, Navigation, B & O, Daytona Grey c/w Black Interior


Prior:
(Him) 2013 BMW X3 M Sport Alpine White Black Interior
(Him) 2012 BMW X6 35i
(Her) 2011 BMW X3 28i
(Him) 2010 MB E550 Coupe
(Him) 2007 BMW 335i Coupe
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:28 AM   #2
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Just a couple of notes:

- You do have to have cruise turned on in order to set, but since it's a stalk position adjustment and there's no indicator in the cluster, it can just be left on. Mine was on at delivery, and I turned off since I rarely use it. Without cruise controls on the wheel, it's less likely to be accidentally engaged, making it fairly safe to leave the system enabled all the time.

- If you set the multifunction display mode where you're viewing trip computer 1/2, then you'll get an additional date/time display, so there are two clocks you can look at, you're just unlikely to have it set to where you'll see the second.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:40 PM   #3
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Default Any updated thoughts?

Very nice write-up. Has your opinion changed in the past 3 months?
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:28 PM   #4
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Surprised there weren't more replies! Also curious to see if you have any changes of opinion 3 months later?
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theLynx View Post
Surprised there weren't more replies! Also curious to see if you have any changes of opinion 3 months later?
Me too. I seriously crossed shopped the X3 (2.0t) and Q5 (2.0t) and GLK (3.5 V6).
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:05 PM   #6
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Default A few months later

Had not thought to do an update but given interest I'll some this up in one statement. "The X3 is for sale & another Q5 TDI is enroute".

I know. What a geek huh? Actually I was going to buy a Q7 or new X5 but settled on what we already know. Q7 & X5 just more vehicle than we need. We love the Q5 TDI so much so that we have an identical one coming. Ok. The new one is Grey but spec'd out the same. The diesel is awesome. Loving the improvement in fuel economy & the torque is incredible. About the only thing we really miss in the Q5 is the heated steering wheel but summer is coming so this lament will subside.

BMW is coming out with a diesel but a 4 cylinder version only. We're really happy with the Q5 & excited the new one is on the way. Now to sell the X3....
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Current:
(Her) 2014 Q5 TDI Technik, S-Line, Navigation, B & O, Glacier White c/w Black Interior

(Him) 2014 Q5 TDI Technik, S-Line, Navigation, B & O, Daytona Grey c/w Black Interior


Prior:
(Him) 2013 BMW X3 M Sport Alpine White Black Interior
(Him) 2012 BMW X6 35i
(Her) 2011 BMW X3 28i
(Him) 2010 MB E550 Coupe
(Him) 2007 BMW 335i Coupe
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:45 PM   #7
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wow! congrats!
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawksie View Post
Had not thought to do an update but given interest I'll some this up in one statement. "The X3 is for sale & another Q5 TDI is enroute".

I know. What a geek huh? Actually I was going to buy a Q7 or new X5 but settled on what we already know. Q7 & X5 just more vehicle than we need. We love the Q5 TDI so much so that we have an identical one coming. Ok. The new one is Grey but spec'd out the same. The diesel is awesome. Loving the improvement in fuel economy & the torque is incredible. About the only thing we really miss in the Q5 is the heated steering wheel but summer is coming so this lament will subside.

BMW is coming out with a diesel but a 4 cylinder version only. We're really happy with the Q5 & excited the new one is on the way. Now to sell the X3....
Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only crazy geek out here. I also used to be a BMW fanatic and had 3 of them just one year ago. Fast-forward to today, I just sold my last BMW to my son and placed the order today for our second Q5 TDI. First one was scuba blue and have had it for 3.5 months. This one will be lava grey. Both spec'd out exactly the same. On this one, I will get to take advantage of both the ACNA 6% discount as well as the $1000 loyalty rebate. This now makes 3 Audi's in the family to go along with the TT-RS that I bought last April. The TDI is a great vehicle and seems to do everything well. I've yet to hear anyone express anything but enthusiasm and high levels of satisfaction.
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Last edited by mhughett; 03-25-2014 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:53 AM   #9
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Default Let's make a club!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhughett View Post
Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only crazy geek out here. I also used to be a BMW fanatic and had 3 of them just one year ago. Fast-forward to today, I just sold my last BMW to my son and placed the order today for our second Q5 TDI. First one was scuba blue and have had it for 3.5 months. This one will be lava grey. Both spec'd out exactly the same. On this one, I will get to take advantage of both the ACNA 6% discount as well as the $1000 loyalty rebate. This now makes 3 Audi's in the family to go along with the TT-RS that I bought last April. The TDI is a great vehicle and seems to do everything well. I've yet to hear anyone but one and express anything but enthusiasm and high levels of satisfaction.
Too funny! Let's start a club of people who like what they like! Guessing it might be some pretty conservative people who like vanilla
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Current:
(Her) 2014 Q5 TDI Technik, S-Line, Navigation, B & O, Glacier White c/w Black Interior

(Him) 2014 Q5 TDI Technik, S-Line, Navigation, B & O, Daytona Grey c/w Black Interior


Prior:
(Him) 2013 BMW X3 M Sport Alpine White Black Interior
(Him) 2012 BMW X6 35i
(Her) 2011 BMW X3 28i
(Him) 2010 MB E550 Coupe
(Him) 2007 BMW 335i Coupe
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawksie View Post
Had not thought to do an update but given interest I'll some this up in one statement. "The X3 is for sale & another Q5 TDI is enroute".
My TDI is on order as well... Is yours from Southgate?
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:39 AM
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