Audi Q5 v Mercedes-Benz GLC v BMW X3: Specification and price comparison
Audi has bought back its mid-size luxury SUV, the Q5, in the Indian market. For 2021, the Audi Q5 gets a few cosmetic changes on the outside, more tech on the inside and a new engine under its hood. Unlike previously, it is now offered only with a 2-litre turbo-petrol engine. While its interior hasn't received any radical changes, Audi has updated the Q5's cabin with a new infotainment touchscreen and a 19-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system. With all these minor updates inside-out and a cleaner BS6-compliant engine, let's see how the Q5 fares against its rivals — the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60.
Audi Q5 v Mercedes-Benz GLC v BMW X3: Dimensions
The 2021 Audi Q5 remains identical to the model it replaces in terms of dimensions. At 4682mm, it is shorter than the BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60, but longer than the Mercedes-Benz GLC. It has the smallest wheelbase measuring at 2820mm, but it is the widest of the lot with a width of 2140mm, 2mm more than that of the BMW X3. The XC60 follows the X3 and when it comes to outright width the GLC comes dead last at 2096mm. With a height of 1662mm, the Audi Q5 is rather tall but the BMW X3 is taller by 14mm, at 1676mm
Now, when it comes to outright length, the BMW X3 is the longest, followed by the XC60, Q5 and the GLC respectively. However, when it comes to the wheelbase, the Mercedes GLC finally makes a good point of itself with the longest wheelbase in this lot (2873mm), and that ideally translates to more legroom on the inside. Up next are the XC60 and the X3, respectively which get separated by a mere millimeter of a length between their wheelbase figures.
When it comes to the boot space, all three Germans have an identical amount of cargo space at 550 litres. The Volvo, though, has the smallest boot, measuring at 505 litres. All four SUVs get 19-inch wheels, but it should be noted that the BMW X3 gets them only on its higher 'Luxury Line' variant.
Audi Q5 v Mercedes-Benz GLC v BMW X3: Engines
Audi has brought back the Q5 but only with a 2-litre TFSI engine, the frugal diesel mills have been given a miss. The sole BS6-compliant turbocharged petrol engine produces 245bhp and 370Nm torque, healthy figures for an SUV of its size. Power is channeled to all four wheels via Audi's famed quattro AWD system with the help of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Just like the Audi Q5, all of these mid-size SUVs come powered by a two-litre petrol engine, however the BMW and the Mercedes-Benz do offer an option of a two-litre diesel engine. With the BMW X3, the petrol engine puts out 248bhp along with 350Nm of torque, making it the most powerful in its segment (though not the torquest — the Audi’s petrol claims that amongst the petrols) . The diesel mill on the other hand puts out 188bhp along with 400Nm of torque. The X3 gets BMW's xDrive AWD as standard on all variants, and its engines transmit power to this system via an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
With 194bhp and 320Nm of torque, the petrol-powered Mercedes-Benz GLC features the lowest outputs – over 50bhp less than any other car's petrol engine here. The diesel on the other hand churns out 191bhp and a healthy 400Nm torque. Power on both the engines is put down via a nine-speed gearbox. It is also available with Mercedes' 4MATIC AWD system, but only with the diesel variant.
Volvo’s XC60 is also exclusively available with a petrol engine, and the only SUV here to come equipped with a 48V mild-hybrid system. Combined, the setup produces a power output of 247bhp and 350Nm torque. Just like Audi, the Scandinavian carmaker has recently discontinued diesel engines from its lineup in India in a bid to shift to an electric only portfolio in the near future. The XC60 gets an eight-speed automatic gearbox and is equipped with an all-wheel-drive system.
Audi Q5 v Mercedes-Benz GLC v BMW X3: Features
Let us start with the newest kid on the block, the Q5. Taking centre stage on the inside is Audi’s new 10.1-inch touchscreen, which replaces the 8.3-inch screen. This system supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, although not wirelessly. Moreover, the interior continues to get features like a panoramic sunroof, twin-tone dashboard and Audi's virtual cockpit system that now benefits with newer animation. Passengers will also appreciate features like the three zone climate control, 30-colour ambient lighting, integrated rear window blinds and the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. The Q5 gets adaptive suspension as standard, a trick that lets you play with the suspension dampness. However worth mentioning, these are different from the air-suspension. It gets a total of five driving modes — Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency, and Individual along with Park assist and a gesture-control bootlid. But it should be noted that all the Q5’s entry-level ‘Premium Plus’ variant gives all these features a miss. And what the India-spec car doesn't get, even as an option, are the superior 'Matrix LED' Headlights, a feature that would have given it an edge over the rest. Still, LED-illumination has now been made standard on both the trim levels — Premium Plus and Technology.
Just like the Audi Q5, the BMW X3 is also available in two variants — SportX and Luxury Line. The diesel engine is available only in the top-spec Luxury Line trim. Inside, the lower SportX trim gets an 8.8-inch infotainment touch screen along with an analogue instrument cluster. Moreover, it gets a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting and a three-zone climate control. It rides on 18-inch wheels and misses out on stuff like the 600-watt Harman Kardon sound system and wireless charging, features that the Luxury line gets. What the Luxury Line also gets is a 12.3-inch digital cluster and a 10.2-inch infotainment screen. The system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity too. It also gets superior adaptive LED headlights, bigger 19-inch wheels and Vernasca leather interior with wood trim on the dashboard and door.
Mercedes-Benz too has updated the GLC for the 2021 model year and it has gotten more features on the inside than before. Present right in front of the driver is a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster and at the centre of attraction is Mercedes' 10.25-inch MBUX infotainment system, which supports Alexa and Google Home integration. It certainly is the most techy of the lot. The system also supports voice recognition and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Features include 64-color ambient interior lighting, augmented-reality navigation, a 13-speaker Burmester sound system, wireless charging, 360-degree camera, three-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic sunroof.
Volvo’s XC60 received an update just a few days ago, and with it came minor changes to the interior. The XC60 now comes with a 9-inch portrait style screen with a multilingual Google assistant, advanced air cleaner and the Volvo cars app which enables you to lock/unlock the car and have 24x7 roadside assistance. This app also supports Over-The-Air updates which will enable it to have the upcoming features Volvo has notified us about: charging status, air quality display and even scheduled service programmability. It’s the only SUV here to come with a single top-end B5 Inscription variant and continues to get the same features, like the 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, adaptive cruise control and a 15-speaker 1100W Bowers and Wilkins audio system. The Volvo XC60 also gets front massaging seats, just like the Mercedes GLC, however these have a lot more cycles and programs. In addition to this, the Volvo XC60 also gets front heated and cooled seats.
Also, Volvo has brought back the BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) safety aid to India with the 2021 XC60. This system flashes a warning light near the door mirror to warn the driver of traffic/people in blind spots. It also has a 'steer assist' system that automatically veers the car back into its lane, if the driver attempts to steer into blind traffic. Moreover, the XC60 also gets radar-based safety tech like forward collision warning with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control.
In terms of features, the Audi Q5 lacks a few features that it’s rivals have to offer. Features like wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and massaging function for the front seats, have been given a miss. Also, ventilation on the front seats would have been a nice touch. As compared to the Volvo, advanced active safety systems have been given a miss as well. But that said, the rest of the Q5 sits on par for the course in terms of features.
Audi Q5 v Mercedes-Benz GLC v BMW X3: Pricing
Launched at Rs 58.9 lakh, the 2021 Audi Q5 sits bang against its rivals when it comes to pricing. The BMW X3 starts at just Rs 1 lakh less, while the GLC starts at a mere Rs 40,000 less. Not a significant amount in the Rs 60 lakh ballpark. The Volvo XC60’s higher starting price of Rs 3 lakh more, gets justified as it comes in only one fully-loaded variant unlike the others that get multiple variants.
Looking at the top-end variants, the Q5 is priced at Rs 63.7 lakh for the ‘Technology variant’. That is Rs 20,000 and Rs 1.8 lakh more than both the BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60 respectively. The Mercedes-Benz GLC however comes fully loaded with both engine options and is a whole Rs 5.2 lakh more affordable than the Q5 when it comes to the petrol variant. The diesel variants of both the Q5 and the X3 however are more expensive than the Q5 at Rs 64.3 and Rs 64.9 lakh respectively.
The Q5 brings subtle updates after a long hiatus and joins its rivals in the mid-size luxury SUV segment once again. On paper, it does just about enough to stay abreast with the competition but it doesn’t raise the bar in any way. Time for a full blown comparison test? Looks like it!