Used test: Audi Q7 vs BMW X5 - interiors

By buying used you can have either of these luxury SUVs for a fraction of the price you'd pay new. But which should you choose?...

Audi Q7

What are they like inside?

When you’re spending this much money on a luxury SUV, even a used example, you don’t just want the interior to look special; you want it to blow you away. Thankfully, BMW got the memo; the X5 is positively jaw-dropping inside. In comparison, the Q7, although a class act, is a bit on the conservative side.

The X5’s dashboard is angled to create a driver-focused environment, and while the Q7 has a slight advantage in terms of the quality of its materials, the X5 isn’t far behind. Indeed, from the stitching on the leather dashboard to the acres of brushed aluminium and piano black trim, everything looks and feels fantastic in the X5. However, the Q7 has the more configurable and easier-to-read digital instrument panel.

BMW X5 M50d - interior

Despite having been replaced now, this generation of Audi’s MMI infotainment system is actually better than the one provided in the latest Q7. Its retractable 8.3in display is sharp, the menus are easy to navigate and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard. It’s also easy to use on the move, thanks to a rotary controller that's located in front of the gear selector, while a touch-sensitive pad helps with inputting destinations into the sat-nav.

Still, as good as it is, it has to play second fiddle to the X5’s iDrive set-up. This allows you to choose between different widgets that display information on the main screen – a bit like you’d find on a smartphone. You can then delve deeper using a sidebar menu system that’s easy to get to grips with. You get both a touchscreen and a rotary controller, too, so it’s a breeze to input destinations whether you’re stationary or on the move.

Audi Q7 rear seats

In terms of driving position, you sit higher in the X5 than you do in the Q7 when their seats are in their respective lowest settings, although it’s easy to raise yourself up to the same height in the Q7 because both cars come with electric adjustment as standard. Four-way lumbar adjustment and extendable under-thigh support should also ensure your back and legs don’t get sore.

Apart from being fractionally wider up front than the Q7, the X5 is outgunned when it comes to interior space. As we’ve noted before, the Q7 is an exceptional piece of packaging, giving both front and middle-row passengers significantly more head and leg room than they’ll find in the X5. From new, you could have added a third row of seats to your X5, but those third-row seats are nowhere near as spacious as the Q7’s, and so few buyers took up the offer.

BMW X5 seats

Nor can the X5 match the Q7’s boot space, even without the third-row seats fitted. In fact, it has one of the least impressive boots in the class, also providing a smaller capacity than other rivals such as the Mercedes GLEPorsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90.

On the other hand, the X5’s split tailgate is genuinely useful for loading larger items, because you can rest them on the lower section – which folds down – before sliding them into the boot. The upper half opens and closes electrically, while a lower half that operates that way was an option.

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