Comparison – Audi Q5 Sportback VS BMW X4: sporty but diesel
At the beginning of 2017, five and a half years ago, Audi presented the second generation of one of its bestsellers, the Q5. Logically, this model has already been restyled. That was at the beginning of autumn 2020. His replacement has even been announced for 2024. However, it was only a few months ago that this SUV completed its range with a Sportback variant. For the brand with the four rings, this terminology designates the dynamic versions. The Q5 Sportback is therefore a “coupe” derivative, a rival of the BMW X4 and the Mercedes GLC coupe. A derivative that comes very late in the Q5 II’s career because it wasn’t planned during the original development. In 2017, however, Mercedes has been offering its GLC Coupé for a year. The BMW X4, on the other hand, first appeared in 2014 and was an instant commercial success. Audi’s reluctance to gain a foothold in this market is therefore astonishing.
Especially since the work done looks very light aesthetically. The Q5 and Q5 Sportback are identical except for the midfoot. The latter also shows a deeper pavilion and a much more inclined tailgate. But the lights are also similar on these two models. Of course, the on-board furniture is also identical.
To better distinguish its family SUV and its “coupe” alternative, BMW offered them two different names. However, the recipe is the same as Audi’s with a duo sharing everything, or almost everything, down to the midfoot. In fact, to support the sporty vocation of the X4, the designers offered it a specific front bumper. The current X4 is the second of the name and was launched in 2018. A few weeks before the launch of the Audi Q5 Sportback, it underwent a restyling aimed at restoring its attractiveness in the eyes of a clientele very sensitive to fashion effects.
One like the other shows a leaked exterior design, but is not very discreet and, above all, is not stingy with style. But isn’t it the calling of such cars to attract attention in traffic? In any case, everyone will judge according to their own taste. On board, as is the tradition of the German premium, the presentations are neat with refined inserts, high-resolution screens that act as a combined instrumentation and support for all multimedia functions and assemblies as precisely as possible. Objectively, it’s fair to say that the Q5’s dashboard hasn’t taken the weight of the years as well as the X4’s, and its design feels a bit dated.
Practical aspects: You don’t forget the family
A priori, the notion of practicality is not essential when opting for this type of vehicle. Indeed, the Q5 and X3 seem better equipped from the outset to face departures on vacations with family and luggage, or even flea market weekends. However, it must be acknowledged that our two rivals of the day cannot be counted on in this respect.
Firstly, because the SUVs that serve as the basis are quite suitable for transporting 4 or even 5 adults. On the Q5 Sportback, as on the X4, the steeper drop in the roof naturally loses a few centimeters of headroom, but it’s still enough to accommodate 1.85-meter-tall passengers on the bench seat. However, cutting off the top of the BMW’s rear doors requires more contortions to climb on board. There is no shortage of leg and elbow room in either case once installed. Front seat occupants benefit from a variety of adjustments to find the most comfortable position possible. Either way, the driver will be surprised to have to go through the options box (or opt for the Q5 Sportback’s high-end Avus finish) to take advantage of the electric settings.
Another significant aspect in terms of practicality is the presence of a tailgate, which on the Q5, like the X4, opens wide and allows bulky items to be stowed in the trunk. In this case, however, it must be remembered to preserve his lumbar spine, since the trunk thresholds of our two protagonists are particularly high. In terms of loading volume, the BMW wins a few points with 525 l compared to the Audi’s 510 l. The latter, however, returns the favor with the seat bench folded down with 1,485 l versus 1,430 l. But the X4 makes an effort in this configuration to offer a perfectly flat floor, which isn’t quite the case with the Q5 Sportback.
There is no shortage of storage space in the front seats. There are large door compartments that can accommodate a bottle of mineral water, a large niche under the front armrest and a glove box with a respectable volume. There is a specially adapted tray at the foot of the center console for storing smartphones, which is standard on all Q5 Sportbacks, but for around 350 to 500 euros on the X4, enables induction charging.
Serious but sad, the interiors of both can be brightened up by choosing from the list of optional inserts. Carbon, fine wood, aluminum … the choice is limitless. As a highlight of the refinement, the dashboard of the X4 can be covered with imitation leather. The choice of upholstery is just as large. Originally it is in fabric on the Audi and in synthetic leather on the BMW. But the optional choices are numerous: 9 for the X4, all in leather, and 17 (leather, leather/fabric and leather/microfiber) for the Q5 Sportback.
Budget: Sedan appetite
Our two competitors have the best-selling engine hidden under their hoods. In both cases we are dealing with a 2.0 diesel, the power of which is very close (190 hp for the BMW and 204 hp for the Audi). Logically, they are therefore available in several equipment variants. However, we will not go into the concept of “first prize” here. In fact, the check to be signed to acquire either of the two is around €60,000. BMW takes care to stay below this psychological threshold (58,900 euros for the xLine version), but Audi doesn’t worry about it with its 60,700 euros for the design execution.
For this match we had variants with a sporty look. If they are even more inconspicuous than their sisters in the range with their wide open signs, their large rims and their atmospheric logos, they also need a comfortable financial expansion. Without options, calculate 65,100 euros for the Q5 Sportback S-Line and 64,700 euros for the X4 M Sport. Note that if BMW, at least with the 20d engine, sticks to two definitions, Audi has also incorporated an even less affordable Avus definition into the price: €69,600.
If frugality has never been one of the qualities of these two German houses, on the other hand they compete in technology to reduce consumption. So, like the BMW engine, the Audi block has a variable geometry turbo, a 48V lightweight hybridization device, as well as a box that can operate in freewheel mode. These efforts are paying off, because the appetite of our two SUVs has leveled off at around 7 l/100 km at a reasonable pace. For giants approaching 2 tons empty, it’s a small feat.
Amenities: Regrettable omissions
The high basic prices of these two SUVs do not go hand in hand with impeccable standard equipment at Audi or BMW, even if the list of standard equipment may seem particularly long. The Q5 Sportback consistently offers the hands-free key, the electric tailgate, 18″ alloy wheels, the tri-zone automatic air conditioning and the induction smartphone charger. Although it is 1,800 euros cheaper, the entry-level X4 completes this list Faux leather upholstery and GPS, and in both cases you’ll have to raise the bill if you want power seats, a rear-view camera or adaptive cruise control.
The upscale Q5 Sportback S-Line has the essential body kit, sports seats with leather/cloth upholstery, dark tinted rear windows, GPS, a more sophisticated Virtual Cockpit, camera backup lights and Matrix LED headlights. The set claims €65,100. The BMW counterpart, the X4 M Sport, is a little cheaper, but closes the gap at 64,700 euros. Although it offers a few more features than the Audi (20-inch rims and parking assistant), it costs extra for dark-tinted rear windows (500 euros) and laser headlights (1,750 euros). These two versions are therefore sent back the back.
The Q5 Sportback is also the only one of this duo that offers an even better equipped surface. Named Avus, it costs 4,500 euros more than the S-Line, i.e. a total of 69,600 euros, but in return it gets 19-inch rims, leather interior, heated and electric front seats, a more advanced audio system and the head-up display. On the other hand, it loses the S-Line body kit. It’s an alternative for all-inclusive lovers, but worth considering.