Audi Q5 Sportback VS BMW X4: sporty, but diesel

At the beginning of 2017, that is, 5 and a half years ago, Audi presented the second generation of one of the best-selling cars, the Q5. Logically, this model has already been restyled. That was at the beginning of fall 2020. Its replacement was already mentioned for 2024. However, it’s only been a few months since this SUV completed its presentation with a Sportback model. In the brand with the four rings, this term refers to the dynamic versions. The Q5 Sportback is thus a derivative of the “coupe”, a competitor to the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. A derivative arriving too late in the Q5 II career because it was not planned during initial development. However, in 2017, Mercedes already introduced its GLC Coupe for a year. The BMW X4, on the other hand, debuted in 2014 and was an instant commercial success. So Audi’s reluctance to gain a foothold in this market is astonishing.

Audi Q5 Sportback 2.0 TDI S-Line Quattro S-Tronic: €65,100
BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport: 64,700 euros
BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport: 64,700 euros

Especially since the work done looks very light from an aesthetic point of view. Up to the middle foot, the Q5 and Q5 Sportback are identical. Furthermore, the latter offers a more snorkeling wing and a more sloping tailgate. But the lights are also similar on these two models. Of course, the furniture on the plane is also identical.

The Q5 Sportback takes over the Q5 lights.  Incredible savings?
The Q5 Sportback takes over the Q5 lights. Incredible savings?
The X4 lights connect it to the world of the brand's coupe cars.
The X4 lights connect it to the world of the brand’s coupe cars.

To better differentiate the family SUV and its “coupe” alternative, BMW offered them two different names. However, the recipe is the same as in Audi with a duo that shares everything, or almost, even the middle foot. In fact, in order to support the sports career of the X4, the designers provided it with a specific front bumper. The current X4 is the second of the name and was marketed in 2018. A few weeks before the launch of the Audi Q5 Sportback, it received a restyling that is supposed to regain its appeal in the eyes of customers who are very sensitive to the influence of fashion.

The S-Line, at Audi, designates the finishes with a sporty width.
The S-Line, at Audi, designates the finishes with a sporty width.
The X4 M Sport proudly wears the M. of Motorsport.
The X4 M Sport proudly wears the M. of Motorsport.

One like the other displays a glossy exterior but isn’t too discreet and, above all, isn’t stingy in the heaviness of style. But is not the profession of such cars to stand out in traffic? Everyone, in any case, will judge according to their own tastes. On board, as in the German premium, presentations are elegant with enhanced inputs, high-resolution screens that act as a built-in tool and support for all multimedia functions and groupings as accurately as possible. Objectively speaking, it is still necessary to realize that the dashboard of the Q5 has supported the weight of the years less than the weight of the X4 and that its design looks a bit dated.

Practical aspects: do not forget the family

A priori, the idea of ​​practicality is not necessary when one chooses this type of vehicle. In fact, the Q5 and X3 seem, a priori, better equipped to meet those departing on vacation with families and luggage or even weekend getaways at the flea market. However, it must be admitted that our opponents today do not allow themselves to be reckoned with in this respect.

Traveling to the rear seats of the Q5 Sportback is not a problem, including for adults.
Traveling to the rear seats of the Q5 Sportback is not a problem, including for adults.
The space in the back of the X4 is rather generous, but access is complicated, due to the cut-outs sunk into the slots.
The space in the back of the X4 is rather generous, but access is complicated, due to the cut-outs sunk into the slots.

Firstly, because SUVs that serve as a base are quite suitable for transporting 4 or even 5 adults. In the case of the Q5 Sportback as in the X4, the more pronounced roof drop loses, of course, a few centimeters in terms of headroom, but it remains enough to accommodate 1 meter 85 passengers on the seatpost. However, cutting the top off the BMW rear doors requires a few more twists to get aboard. Once installed, there is no shortage of leg and elbow room in either. As for the front seat occupants, they make use of several settings to find the most comfortable position possible. Either way, the driver will be surprised, though, as they have to go through the options box (or opt for the Avus high-end finish on the Q5 Sportback) to be able to take advantage of the electric settings.

The 510-liter Q5 Sportback is enough for the family, but ...
The 510-liter Q5 Sportback is enough for the family, but …
...we regret that once the seat is folded down, the floor does not become flat.
…we regret that once the seat is folded down, the floor does not become flat.

Another important aspect from a practical point of view is the presence of a tailgate that opens as wide on the Q5 as on the X4 and allows bulky items to be lifted into the trunk. In this case, it will be necessary to think about maintaining the lower back because the thresholds for the torso of our two heroes are especially high. In terms of cargo volume, BMW wins a few points by offering 525 liters, compared to 510 liters for Audi. But the latter retaliates as soon as the seat is folded, with 1,485 liters versus 1,430 liters. But the X4 makes an effort, in this configuration, to offer a completely flat floor, which isn’t quite the case with the Q5 Sportback.

The X4 offers 15 liters more than the Audi ...
The X4 offers 15 liters more than the Audi …
... the floor is nearly flat in a two-seat configuration.
… the floor is nearly flat in a two-seat configuration.

In the front seats, there is no shortage of storage space. There are large door bins, capable of accepting a bottle of mineral water, a large niche under the front armrest and an honorable sized glove box. To deposit your smartphone there is a specially adapted position at the foot of the center console which, as standard on all Q5 Sportbacks but for €350-500 in the X4, allows induction charging.

The interior of the Q5 Sportback is serious, but the atmosphere is less somber with Rotor Gray, optional at 610 €.
The interior of the Q5 Sportback is serious, but the atmosphere is less somber with Rotor Gray, optional at 610 €.
As standard, the interior of the X4 is completely black.  But beige, cognac or red upholstery is a free option.
As standard, the interior of the X4 is completely black. But beige, cognac or red upholstery is a free option.

Serious but sad, the internal presentation of both can be lightened by picking from a list of optional entries. Carbon, precious wood, aluminum… the choice is endless. High in refinement, the X4’s dashboard can be trimmed with imitation leather. The choice is equally wide in terms of upholstery. Originally, it was made of fabric on an Audi and imitation leather on a BMW. But the optional possibilities are numerous: 9 for the X4, all leather, and 17 (leather, leather/fabric, leather/microfiber) for the Q5 Sportback.

Budget: sedan appetite

Our competitors hid their best-selling engine under the hood. Either way, it’s a 2.0 diesel and its power is pretty close (190 hp for a BMW and 204 hp for an Audi). Logically, they are available with many trim levels. However, we will not discuss the idea of ​​”first prize” here. In fact, the check that must be signed to get one of them is about 60 thousand euros. BMW is keen to stay below that psychological limit (58,900 euros for the xLine version) but Audi doesn’t care, with 60,700 euros to finish the styling, with such a consideration.

In this match, we had sporty-looking variants. If they show themselves, with their wide open shields, large brim and lively emblems, even less discreet than their sisters in the range, they also need a comfortable financial extension. Count, excluding options, €65,100 for the Q5 Sportback S-Line and €64,700 for the X4 M Sport. Note that if BMW, at least with the 20d engine, sticks to two definitions, Audi has also integrated into the price the Avus definition, even the least expensive: 69,600 euros.

The X4's steeper slope makes it look sportier than the Q5 Sportback.
The X4’s steeper slope makes it look sportier than the Q5 Sportback.

If budget moderation has never been one of the characteristics of these two German councils, on the other hand, they compete in technology to reduce consumption. Thus, the Audi block just like the BMW engine has a variable geometry turbo, a 48-volt optical hybrid as well as a box capable of operating in freewheel mode. Those efforts have paid off since, at a reasonable pace, our SUV’s appetite has settled at around 7L/100km. For giant beings close to 2 tons empty, that’s a small feat.

Equipment: unfortunate omissions

At Audi as at BMW, the high base prices of these two SUVs do not go hand in hand with impeccable standard equipment, even if the list of standard equipment seems particularly long. Thus, the Q5 Sportback systematically offers the hands-free key, electric tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, three-zone automatic air conditioning as well as an induction smartphone charger. The Level X4 completes this list with leather upholstery and GPS, and either way, you’ll have to increase the bill if you want power seats, a rear camera, or adaptive cruise control.

The Q5 Sportback's instrument cluster can display Google Maps from the Global Positioning System (GPS).
The Q5 Sportback’s instrument cluster can display Google Maps from the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Going to market, the Q5 Sportback S-Line features a basic body kit, sport seats with leather/fabric upholstery, darkened rear windows, GPS, a more advanced virtual cockpit, camera taillights and Matrix LED headlights. The group demands 65,100 euros. The BMW counterpart, the X4 M Sport, is still a little cheaper, but at 64,700 euros, the gap is narrowing. Admittedly, it still offers a few more features than Audi (20-inch rims and Park Assist) but charges extra for the dark-tinted rear windows (500 euros) and laser headlights (1,750 euros). Thus, these two versions are sent back to the back.

The X4 prefers a more elegant but less detailed display.
The X4 prefers a more elegant but less detailed display.

Moreover, the Q5 Sportback is the only one of this duo that offers a better-equipped look. Avus christened, requires 4,500 euros more than the S-Line, for a total of 69,600 euros, but gains 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated and electric front seats, a more advanced audio system and a head-up display. On the other hand, it misses the S-Line body kit. For inclusion buffs, it’s an alternative worth considering.

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