Cars

SUVs: Will the new BMW X3 outperform the Audi Q5 & Alfa Stelvio?

Diesel SUVs are still unavoidable for those who often have to cover long distances and want to sit high up. We pit two old friends – Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Audi Q5 – against the recently facelifted BMW X3. In matters Range nobody fools these high-torque but reasonable diesels. With the BMW, for example, 970 kilometers can be covered without a refueling break – only station wagons can do that better.
Selected products in tabular overview

BMW X3 xDrive20d

BMW X3 xDrive20d

RRP from EUR 54,000, savings of up to EUR 8,004

Audi Q5 40 TDI quattro

Audi Q5 40 TDI quattro

RRP from EUR 51,750, savings of up to EUR 6,107

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce 2.2D Q4

Alfa Stelvio 2.2 Diesel Q4

RRP from EUR 58,500, savings of up to EUR 8,128

The X3 facelift brings a new rear look

The Bavarian rolled into the yard as a BMW X3 xDrive20d – and a lot fresher than when we last met: Not only does the rear look significantly different after the facelift with its lights in brackets – BMW also promises more economy through mild hybridization via 48 volts -Starter generator (was introduced shortly before the change in the pre-facelift model).
BMW X3 xDrive20d

New look: The rear of the facelifted X3 now looks significantly different with the modified lights.

In addition, there is better light from full LED headlights (Matrix LED for an extra charge), faster navigation, sports seats and three-zone climate as standard equipment, as well as a less obtuse voice control, which now also hears power window, climate and driving mode commands. Unfortunately, we couldn’t try out the latter, nor the new priority warning system, because our test car didn’t have all the new features on board – which is probably due to the lack of chips.
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Engine type/cylinder

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installation position

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valves/camshafts

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camshaft drive

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displacement

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kW (HP) at 1/min

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Nm at 1/min

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V max

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transmission

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drive

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Brakes front/rear

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test car tires

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tire type

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wheel size

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Exhaust gas CO2

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Consumption*

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tank capacity

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fuel type

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SCR catalytic converter/AdBlue tank capacity

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pass-by noise

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trailer load used/unused

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drawbar load

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trunk volume

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Length Width Height

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wheelbase

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basic price

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Test car price (is evaluated)

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4687/1903 – 2163**/2163mm

Seven-speed double clutch

4682/1893 – 2140**/1662mm

Four-cylinder, turbo + electric motor

v. 225/45 R 20, h. 275/40 R 20 Y

4708/1891-2138**/1676mm

We were curious to see whether the BMW can justify its significant price increase. After all, increasing the starting price by 4700 euros for the xDrive20d is no small matter. Anyone who takes a seat on the X3 sports seats and looks at the large 12.3-inch screen (of course, subject to a surcharge: 1600 euros in the package) is initially reconciled with the additional price, especially since none of the test candidates falls below the 60,000 euro mark . While we initially got lost several times in the Alfa infotainment and the Audi system, which relies on touch operation, distracts us while driving, the BMW operation seems exemplary to us.

BMW X3 xDrive20d

The X3 can be operated in many ways, but the understandable voice control was still missing options in the test car.


In the X3 we have a wide choice when it comes to operation

This car can be operated in no fewer than five ways: rotary pushbutton, touchpad, voice control, touch screen and gesture control. Every driver will find something to their liking. Let’s try the voice control: “Hello, BMW, play NDR Info!” The system understands the command – well, almost: NDR Blue sounds right next to it in the station list. One slip, the system reliably recognizes climate commands.
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acceleration

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0-50km/h

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0-100km/h

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0-130km/h

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0-160km/h

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intermediate sprint

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60-100km/h

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80-120km/h

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curb weight/load

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Weight distribution v./h.

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Turning circle left/right

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seat height

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braking distance

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from 100 km/h cold

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from 100 km/h warm

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interior noise

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at 50 km/h

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at 100 km/h

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at 130 km/h

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consumption

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saving consumption

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test consumption

Average of the 155 km test lap (deviation from the WLTP specification)

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sports consumption

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CO2 (test consumption)

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Range (test consumption)

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In the X3, in contrast to the Audi, the driver sits more in the middle than on top; the BMW also feels bigger and heavier than its rivals. When driving it is noticeable that the steering has been revised. The slightly hectic around the middle position, excessively sporty for SUV claims, has given way to a more balanced, calmer one. This results in a more relaxed driving experience than the BMW brand cliché would suggest. The chassis presents itself more on the sporty side, with long spring deflections, but still with a firm basic note.

In contrast to its competitors, the BMW lifted one leg slightly at the front during the evasion test, by three or four centimeters – apparently the result of the slightly rear-heavy weight distribution and non-slip mixed tyres. This isn’t a real security flaw, but we have to note it here.

When it comes to comfort, nobody can match the Q5

In the chapters chassis and steering, the Audi shines above all, despite its slight top-heaviness. None of the competitors follows the steering movements so faithfully, none filters away so much comfort inconvenience, from cobblestones to nasty pothole. Nevertheless, it can be swung through the pylon alley just as quickly as the BMW.

Audi Q5 40 TDI quattro

In comparison, the softest: No competitor filters out bumps in the road as skilfully as the Audi Q5.

The steering of the Audi is more decoupled, more indirect than the other two, but responds pleasantly linear. It takes 2¾ turns from lock to lock. A lot, but they hit wheels also the strongest one. Therefore, the turning circle of the Audi Q5 is particularly small
Unfortunately, the transmission doesn’t quite keep up with the agility of the chassis. Not that the double coupler would do a bad job, but the ZF eight-speed automatic in Alfa and BMW is in a league of its own. The transmission control in the BMW seems more harmonious to us than in the Alfa.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce 2.2D Q4
Sprint winner: The Alfa is the fastest up to a speed of 100, its chassis is tuned more crisply than the Q5 and X3.


The Alfa is the dynamic of the trio

The latter is naturally the individualist in this trio. The Stellantis brand is still not lacking in the ability to inspire pride of ownership. Just the design of the engine cover and the leather of the headrests with the brand logo in relief – bellissimo! In the case of the Stelvio, the individual appearance comes at the cost of fewer disadvantages than one might fear. It also seems to be properly processed overall, flatters the front seated with leather seats that are a bit too short, but offer support. More details about the test can be found in the picture gallery.

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Three diesel SUVs in the test


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