BMW X5 vs. Audi Q7

By

Automotive Editor

Randy Heinitz has written online automotive news and classic car profiles since 2010. He also covers auto shows in Southern California, and writes about automotive maintenance, repair and insurance issues.

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, Automotive Editor - January 21, 2015

When it was introduced for 2000, the BMW X5 was promoted with the label Sport Activity Vehicle. By removing the word "utility" from the the usual SUV designation, BMW let buyers know that this upscale vehicle was most comfortable on paved roads.

See a side-by-side comparison of the X5 & Q7 >>

Other luxury brands followed suit, and the Audi Q7 appeared in 2007. But is the upstart Audi a serious rival to the established BMW?

What the BMW X5 gets right

BMW owned Land Rover during the X5's development -- the crossover, therefore, benefited from Bavarian access to the knowledge and experience of the world's premier off-road manufacturer.

In its second generation, the X5 gained third-row seating and BMW upped the standard list of luxury and convenience features. An advanced twin-turbo diesel engine also became available.

What the Audi Q7 gets right

Like the X5, an Audi Q7 places a priority on luxurious on-road performance. And that's fine -- the Q7's quattro all-wheel drive will be more than adequate in any adverse conditions a typical buyer might encounter.

Seating for seven is standard. The Q7 can also be paired with a TDI diesel engine for better fuel efficiency. And music aficionados will appreciate an available Bang & Olufsen sound system with more than 1,000 watts of power and 14 speakers.

Is the Q7 in the Same Class as the X5?

Absolutely. Both vehicles are fun to drive, offer a smooth ride and are nicely appointed with similar luxury features. In most cases, choosing between the two will come down to personal taste.

Our Verdict: BMW X5

Your favorite music may sound better in the Q7, but it is the X5 that wins our vote with its greater athleticism.

Take a closer look at the BMW X5 >>

Take a closer look at the Audi Q7 >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Randy Heinitz has written online automotive news and classic car profiles since 2010. He also covers auto shows in Southern California, and writes about automotive maintenance, repair and insurance issues.

Follow On: Google+ | Website