Talking of SUVs, we have two most commonly used and discussed vehicles; BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Both the vehicles belong to such companies which have marked their presence in luxury vehicles since ever. BMW is a German multinational company known for its luxury vehicles and motorcycles. Audi is a member of Volkswagen Group and known for its well-engineered luxury vehicles. BMW X1 and Audi Q3, they both belong to same class which is “Subcompact Luxury Crossover SUV”. Subcompact here refers to the size which these vehicles belong to, but even with this subcompact name, these vehicles are much spacious and burly. Crossover is a class in SUVs which provides better fuel economy, better driving comfort, a classy interior but with lesser off-road capabilities. Both vehicles are 5 door CUV (Crossover-SUV). The production of BMW X1 started in 2009 and just after two years, Audi started the production of Q3. Let’s dig into technical specifications to find out which vehicle wins on paper.


BMW X1 has a length of 4447mm, width of 1821mm, height of 1598mm, ground clearance of 183mm and wheelbase at around 2670mm. Audi Q3 has a length of 4484mm, width of 1856mm, height of 1616mm, ground clearance of 170mm and wheelbase at around 2680mm. In every aspect, Q3 knocks out the X1 with its bigger dimensions from outside. Only the ground clearance of X1 is more but only by13mm, which does not make much difference to drivability.
Let’s talk about how spacious these CUVs are from inside. X1 has a front head room of 1065mm, front leg room of 1026mm, front shoulder room of 1412mm, rear head room of 1002mm, rear leg room of 940mm and rear shoulder room of 1402mm. Q3 has a front head room of 1054mm, front leg room of 1016mm, front shoulder room of 1440mm, rear head room of 976mm, rear leg room of 917mm and rear shoulder room of 1400mm. Surprisingly, from inside, X1 is more spacious despite being less bulky from outside. But the difference it makes here is only in few millimeters.


Cargo volume is of prime importance while choosing a CUV, because they are meant to offer a practically reasonable space for luggage. In terms of cargo space, CUVs provide no lesser space than a true SUV. Comparing cargo space of a CUV is not easy and simple as that of a sedan. A few standards have been developed over the course of time to measure cargo space. Liters/VDA is volume capacity of cargo trunk which shows how many boxes (each of one liter) can fit into cargo space or trunk. Likewise, cubic feet (cu.ft) is also used to show cargo capacity as it shows the actual volume of cargo trunk by taking the dimensions in feet. Talking of Liters/VDA, X1 has a cargo capacity of 505 liters with seats up and 1550 liters with seats down. Q3 has 530 liters with seats up and 1525 liters with seats down. In cu.ft, X1 has a cargo capacity of 27.1 cu.ft with seats up and 58.7 cu.ft with seats down. Q3 has 18.7 cu.ft with seats up and 53.9 cu.ft with seats down. Both CUVs provide a decent space which can be utilized for many purposes.


Engine is considered as heart of the vehicle because much of the driving characteristics are based on engine’s power. As we mentioned earlier that CUVs are less dominant on off-road tracks than SUVs but not because of engine power. This dominancy of SUVs on off-road track comes lively due to off-road tires, all-wheel drive feature, transmission tweaks, higher ground clearance and many other factors. But in terms of engine specifications, CUVs are no lesser than SUVs. Both CUVs have petrol and diesel variants with varying engine capacities. Petrol variant of X1 comes in 1.5L and 2.0L capacity and petrol variant of Q3 comes in same configurations as 1.5L and 2.0L capacity. Diesel variant of X1 comes in 1.5L and 2.0L capacity while as of Q3, it comes in 2.0L capacity. Audi uses two types of technology in its engines, TFSI (Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection) and TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection). BMW also uses turbo technology in engines but it does not give a specific technical term to it.

Now let’s get down to the power and torque. A good engine not only needs bigger capacity but it should be engineered in such a way, so that it can produce good power and torque figures. Weakest max. power (HP/kW) produced by X1 is 140/103 and by Q3 is 150/110. Strongest max. power produced by X1 is 231/170 and by Q3 is 230/169. Strongest max power produced by both of these CUVs is almost perfectly same. Lowest max torque (Nm/lb.ft) produced by X1 is 220/162 and by Q3 is 250/184. Highest max. torque produced by X1 is 450/332 and by Q3 is 400/295.


Sometimes power and torque figures are confusing and buyer has to rely on other performance indicators. Two of them are top speed and acceleration. These two provide best insight on how well a vehicle performs. Specifically, this is the segment, where CUVs outperform SUVs. CUVs are often faster than SUVs on highways, thanks to their powerful engines and track suited tires. Top speed of the slowest variant in X1 is 203km/h while in Q3 its 207km/h. Top speed of the fastest variant in X1 is 235km/h while in Q3 its 233 km/h. Both CUVs have pretty consistent figures in terms of top speed. 0-100 km/h acceleration time of slowest variant in X1 is 9.7s while in Q3 its 9.6s. Quickest acceleration time of X1 is 6.5s and for Q3 its 6.3s. Q3 has a faster acceleration in slower variant and also in faster variant despite being a bit heavier than X1. Curb weight of X1 is 1420 K.G while as of Q3, it is 1535 K.G. Audi did a great job in dealing with aerodynamics and road variables in order to give swift acceleration for such a heavy vehicle.


Safety is considered as important as any other aspect in vehicle. Auto industry is incorporating safety as a prime function of vehicle and why not. Different standards of safety have been developed with the help of different tests, which in result gave ratings or scores criteria. These ratings or scores let us understand that how safe a vehicle is and a comparison of safety can be drawn. The Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) is one of those standards we talked about. Safety ratings are only viable in comparison if the vehicles, which are to be compared, share same model year. We have safety ratings of a BMW X1 2015 and Audi Q3 2018. Even they do not share same model year, still the comparison does not get void.

Overall safety rating of both CUVs is a 5 star. X1 has adult occupant safety as 90%, child occupant safety as 87%, pedestrian safety as 74% and safety assist as 77%. Q3 has adult occupant safety as 95%, child occupant safety as 86%, pedestrian safety as 76% and safety assist as 85%.


X1 is priced at 34,950 USD in USA, 32,700 EUR in Germany and 28,675 GBP in United Kingdom. While Q3 is priced at 34,700 USD in USA, 33,700 EUR in Germany and 30,805 GBP in United Kingdom.