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Used test: Audi Q7 vs BMW X5

By buying used you can have either of these great luxury SUVs for a fraction of the price you'd pay new. But which car is the best choice?...

Audi Q7 vs BMW X5

The Contenders

Audi Q7 50 TDI quattro S line

List price when new £59,295
Price today £39,000*
Available from 2016-present

The winner of our What Car? Used Luxury SUV of the Year award this year, the Q7 has always been the consummate all-rounder.

BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport 

List price when new £60,995
Price today £45,000*
Available from 2018-present

The X5 offers a luxurious interior and great comfort, but at a higher price here. Can it still sock it to the Q7?

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Buyers of used luxury SUVs demand a lot. They expect an interior that's befitting of a truly upmarket vehicle, yet one that's also supremely practical. They want strong performance, superb refinement and a cosseting ride. And they want to pay substantially less than they would for a new one.

Audi Q7

In other words, they want something like the Audi Q7. Our 2022 Used Luxury SUV of the Year is the very definition of a great all-rounder because all versions mix seven-seat practicality with limo-like comfort, quality and hush. Bought at four years old, the Q7 is even excellent value.

Is it as good as the BMW X5 though? The original 2007-13 BMW X5 was the car that kicked off the craze for SUVs that prioritise on-road handling over off-road ability. This version (sold from 2018 onwards) isn't quite as sporty as its predecessors, but offers a much broader range of talents, with outstanding build quality and the best infotainment system in the business.

Each of these cars is a jack of all trades, then – but is the Q7 or the X5 the master? Read on to find out...



Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Both cars are powered by 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engines hooked up to eight-speed automatic gearboxes, and they both deliver similar performance. The fractionally more powerful Q7 just pipped the X5 in the sprint from 0-60mph (6.3sec compared with 6.4).

However, in normal driving, it’s the flexibility of the engines that most impresses. When you put your foot down in either car, acceleration builds strongly from very low revs, and continues to do so in a smooth, linear fashion until the gearboxes change up to make the best use of that low-down grunt.

Audi Q7 driving

In the Q7, the engine is so hushed that you can hardly tell you’re accelerating. The X5’s engine is even smoother, with slightly less vibration, but more vocal when you press the accelerator. That's partly due to the artificial soundtrack fed into the interior through the hi-fi speakers. Some will love this, some will hate it. Fortunately, the engine quietens down at a cruise to make the X5 very nearly as refined as the Q7.

There’s certainly nothing to trouble you about the way the X5 goes down the road. With air suspension fitted as standard, it delivers a smooth and well-controlled ride over even the most battered surfaces. While it doesn’t quite have the magic carpet ride of the softly sprung Q7, it never feels floaty or wallowy, either.

BMW X5 driving

Our test Q7 was fitted with the optional-from-new air suspension, which was taken up by well over half its buyers, and is well worth seeking out. 

As for handling, both cars have their strengths. The X5 resists body lean better and the Q7 has sharper, more accurate steering and extra grip. On balance, though, it's the Q7 that's slightly better to drive.