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      09-12-2017, 10:34 AM   #1
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Get ready to rumble - X3 M40i vs SQ5

I have a 2014 SQ5, purchased early in the model's life, and now I'm ready to move on. At the time if you wanted something more than 300 HP in a mid size SUV your choices were SQ5 and Macan S/Turbo. The SQ5 was my pick and it's been a good car but I have had quite a few complaints about it over 4 years of ownership.

When the X3 M40i was finally shown I was not blown away by the looks but I do like it and the powerplant and driving dynamics are sure to be fantastic. Yesterday I had some time and my local Audi dealership had a few 2018 SQ5s in so I went to check it out and go for a drive. I was interested in the new chassis, engine, transmission (theoretical change), air suspension, and torque vectoring rear diff on top of standard 40/60 Torsen Quattro. Also, my 2014 didn't have a heated steering wheel option, so ya know the wife would like to have that too.

The new SQ5 is great. I came away much more impressed than I thought I would and if they had the build I want on the lot, I'd probably take one this week. It doesn't hurt that the lease residual is currently 64% (10k mi/yr), putting a loaded SQ5 about $90-100 per month less than a loaded X3 M40i lease. The new 3.0T and transmission were very smooth with tons of low end torque. Lag was there but minimal, shifts were smooth with fantastic rev matching in Dynamic mode, the engine/exhaust sounded so so good. The air suspension worked well and moves the vehicle up and down something like 4 inches. The ride was superb on 21" wheels. Brakes good, seats lovely, interior and digital dash fantastic, blah blah blah...

So to the point - TLDR. I think BMWs drive better than Audis but I really liked the new SQ5. I think the M40i will be a bit quicker (not sure that matters), but sadly I can't drive the new X3 until probably late October and the SQ5 leases cheaper which is a surprise. What do you guys think about the comparison of these two? They are going to be really competitive head to head.

Last edited by Transfer; 09-12-2017 at 10:44 AM.
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      09-12-2017, 12:44 PM   #2
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I'm trading my SQ5 in on the M40i. Putting my foot down on the SQ5 always brings a smile to my face but it just doesn't drive like a BMW. Couple that with the fact the X3 M40i is cheaper, it makes it a no brainer for me. ACNA having the 2018 Q5/SQ5 excluded from the 6% discount also doesn't help the pricing.
I don't lease so I haven't checked residuals and payments, but I could see that making a big difference if you do.

I'm also a little leery of a brand new product coming out of a brand new factory, I wouldn't want to buy a first model year SQ5 due to that either.
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      09-13-2017, 12:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post
I have a 2014 SQ5, purchased early in the model's life, and now I'm ready to move on. At the time if you wanted something more than 300 HP in a mid size SUV your choices were SQ5 and Macan S/Turbo. The SQ5 was my pick and it's been a good car but I have had quite a few complaints about it over 4 years of ownership.

When the X3 M40i was finally shown I was not blown away by the looks but I do like it and the powerplant and driving dynamics are sure to be fantastic. Yesterday I had some time and my local Audi dealership had a few 2018 SQ5s in so I went to check it out and go for a drive. I was interested in the new chassis, engine, transmission (theoretical change), air suspension, and torque vectoring rear diff on top of standard 40/60 Torsen Quattro. Also, my 2014 didn't have a heated steering wheel option, so ya know the wife would like to have that too.

The new SQ5 is great. I came away much more impressed than I thought I would and if they had the build I want on the lot, I'd probably take one this week. It doesn't hurt that the lease residual is currently 64% (10k mi/yr), putting a loaded SQ5 about $90-100 per month less than a loaded X3 M40i lease. The new 3.0T and transmission were very smooth with tons of low end torque. Lag was there but minimal, shifts were smooth with fantastic rev matching in Dynamic mode, the engine/exhaust sounded so so good. The air suspension worked well and moves the vehicle up and down something like 4 inches. The ride was superb on 21" wheels. Brakes good, seats lovely, interior and digital dash fantastic, blah blah blah...

So to the point - TLDR. I think BMWs drive better than Audis but I really liked the new SQ5. I think the M40i will be a bit quicker (not sure that matters), but sadly I can't drive the new X3 until probably late October and the SQ5 leases cheaper which is a surprise. What do you guys think about the comparison of these two? They are going to be really competitive head to head.
You should try out a current X4 M40i just to get a feel. It won't be exactly the same, of course, but in the ballpark.
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      09-13-2017, 10:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sor View Post
You should try out a current X4 M40i just to get a feel. It won't be exactly the same, of course, but in the ballpark.
Just know an X4 will always be sporty than an X3 in any trim.
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      09-14-2017, 07:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ND40oz View Post
I'm trading my SQ5 in on the M40i. Putting my foot down on the SQ5 always brings a smile to my face but it just doesn't drive like a BMW. Couple that with the fact the X3 M40i is cheaper, it makes it a no brainer for me. ACNA having the 2018 Q5/SQ5 excluded from the 6% discount also doesn't help the pricing.
I don't lease so I haven't checked residuals and payments, but I could see that making a big difference if you do.

I'm also a little leery of a brand new product coming out of a brand new factory, I wouldn't want to buy a first model year SQ5 due to that either.
Actually, the 2018 SQ5 is eligible for the ACNA/Affinity discount. Only the 2018 Q5 is excluded.
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      09-14-2017, 08:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BMWDude49120 View Post
Actually, the 2018 SQ5 is eligible for the ACNA/Affinity discount. Only the 2018 Q5 is excluded.
If that works, then go for it. Surprised they would let that slip through but it looks like they list the A5 Sportback and S5 Sportback separately, so it would make sense they'd do the same for the Q5 and SQ5. Still not going to make a difference in my decision though.
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      09-15-2017, 08:31 PM   #7
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I'll be able to add more to this discussion soon because I'm picking up a 2018 SQ5 this weekend. Comes with everything except cold weather pack (heated steering wheel and rear seats). The SQ5 is attainable at much greater discounts than equally equipped X3 M40i and it leases $100 per month less than an equal MSRP X3. Money factors are identical but there is a 6% residual difference!

Anyway both cars are super amazing and I'll give my impressions on the SQ5 in a few days.
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      09-16-2017, 09:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post
I'll be able to add more to this discussion soon because I'm picking up a 2018 SQ5 this weekend. Comes with everything except cold weather pack (heated steering wheel and rear seats). The SQ5 is attainable at much greater discounts than equally equipped X3 M40i and it leases $100 per month less than an equal MSRP X3. Money factors are identical but there is a 6% residual difference!

Anyway both cars are super amazing and I'll give my impressions on the SQ5 in a few days.
That's going to be a great car👍🏻

I've been told repeatedly from various dealers that they don't have lease residuals published for the M40i yet, though they do have numbers for the 30i and guess it will be low like it until the 2017s roll out. I'm hoping for a surprise, because there isn't really a competing model in the 2017s and as you say, they're competing against the likes of SQ5 even now. I did manage to get a deal closer to invoice than MSRP though, so we will see what it shakes out to be.
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      10-02-2017, 10:29 PM   #9
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After test driving it against a Macan S and GLC43, I came home with this. Ask me anything you'd like!



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      10-03-2017, 10:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by damnitBobby View Post
After test driving it against a Macan S and GLC43, I came home with this. Ask me anything you'd like!
Sweet ride!

Does this have air suspension? I test drove one with air and was really impressed. Very composed ride and body motions but still sucked up bumps like nothing.

Have you loaded music onto the harddrive? If so, can you can you skip forward by band? Does it have random play? Those are two things that my M235 won't do and it bugs me.

Have you been able to use the rain sense wipers?

How is the transmission tuning? Car and Driver nitpicked the tuning, sort of surprise since Audi and BMW have always had good tuning on the ZF8.

How are the driver and control ergonomics?
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      10-03-2017, 10:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnitBobby View Post
After test driving it against a Macan S and GLC43, I came home with this. Ask me anything you'd like!

[img]https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4383/...c3bcde0f_b.jpg[/img]

[img]https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4428/...c58842ae_c.jpg[/img]
Looks great. Which trim Premium Plus/Prestige, interior and options?
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      10-03-2017, 02:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnitBobby View Post
After test driving it against a Macan S and GLC43, I came home with this. Ask me anything you'd like!



Would you mind taking a picture of the exhaust on your SQ5? I see that the tips are not real but where is the exhaust and what does it look like? A video of the sound would great too.

When you were cross shopping for this, did you find that the Macan was too small? What lead you away from the GLC? Any input would be appreciated.

Enjoy your ride!
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      10-03-2017, 06:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augerpro View Post
Sweet ride!

Does this have air suspension? I test drove one with air and was really impressed. Very composed ride and body motions but still sucked up bumps like nothing.

Have you loaded music onto the harddrive? If so, can you can you skip forward by band? Does it have random play? Those are two things that my M235 won't do and it bugs me.

Have you been able to use the rain sense wipers?

How is the transmission tuning? Car and Driver nitpicked the tuning, sort of surprise since Audi and BMW have always had good tuning on the ZF8.

How are the driver and control ergonomics?
I have a 2011 X3, and in my controls I can't fast forward while playing music off a USB drive. Did they ever fix that so you can fast forward or rewind while playing music?
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      10-04-2017, 06:40 AM   #14
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Car and Driver just published their instrumented test of the 2018 SQ5.

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews...q5-test-review

Quote:
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 5.1 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.0 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 20.2 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.1 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 4.0 sec
Standing -mile: 13.7 sec @ 102 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 127 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 148 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.93 g
I'm wondering what's up with the governor limited top speed of 127 mph. They must have gotten one with option Q29, the all season tire which lowers the top speed to 130 mph. I can't find C&Ds test sheet that lists what exact tires were on it though.

I'm betting they didn't use launch control either, they didn't back when they tested the 2014 SQ5 and it shaves at least a half second off the 0-60 and 1/4 mile times.
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Last edited by ND40oz; 10-04-2017 at 06:47 AM.
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      10-04-2017, 07:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augerpro View Post
Sweet ride!

Does this have air suspension? I test drove one with air and was really impressed. Very composed ride and body motions but still sucked up bumps like nothing.

Have you loaded music onto the harddrive? If so, can you can you skip forward by band? Does it have random play? Those are two things that my M235 won't do and it bugs me.

Have you been able to use the rain sense wipers?

How is the transmission tuning? Car and Driver nitpicked the tuning, sort of surprise since Audi and BMW have always had good tuning on the ZF8.

How are the driver and control ergonomics?
I got air suspension and it is fantastic! I got out of a '17 Mercedes GLS550 also with air suspension. And the SQ5 is just as comfortable in comfort mode. Put it into Dynamic mode and everything firms up but still tolerable. I can keep it in Dynamic mode all day and not complain (and I am really big on ride quality). The lack of air suspension on the new X3 was one reason I didn't wait for the M40i.

I havne't used the hard drive as I play music through my phone.

The rain sense wipers are great. It has a toggle on the stalk which allows you to adjust sensitivity to rain. It's a really great feature for people that don't want them turning on too often.

The transmission is great and miles ahead of the Mercedes. The transmission in the Mercedes was too clunky and laggy, didn't like it very much at all. The ZF in the Audi is plenty quick I don't understand why C&D thought it wasn't tuned well. I've had a '12 E92 335i auto and the ZF in the SQ5 is an overall better transmission in every way.

Interior and control ergonomics are great I have no complaints here. Everything just feels solid inside this car.

I'll answer the other questions throughout the day (busy at work).
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      10-04-2017, 01:35 PM   #16
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Thanks for the feedback! BTW how are the headlights? Do you have DAP?
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      10-04-2017, 09:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ando View Post
Looks great. Which trim Premium Plus/Prestige, interior and options?
Prestige, S sport pack, 21" wheels, Black Nappa Leather w/ Rock grey stitching, Carbon inlays.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kozzi View Post
Would you mind taking a picture of the exhaust on your SQ5? I see that the tips are not real but where is the exhaust and what does it look like? A video of the sound would great too.
The exhaust exits downward right behind the valence that everyone calls fake (on both sides). I actually appreciate the design and love that I don't have to clean exhaust tips anymore! If this was my sports car then it would bother me for sure but it doesn't bother me on this sort of vehicle. I'll have to find time to make a video. Here's a good review of the SQ5 (turn on the English subtitles) and it sounds just like it does here in this video.



Quote:
Originally Posted by augerpro View Post
Thanks for the feedback! BTW how are the headlights? Do you have DAP?
Headlights are great no complaints here. I didn't' get the DAP. I don't like all the assistance features they feel too controlling to me. I had them on my GLS and all the steering vibrations and other alerts annoyed me.
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      10-04-2017, 10:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by kozzi View Post
When you were cross shopping for this, did you find that the Macan was too small? What lead you away from the GLC? Any input would be appreciated.
I'll post what I liked and disliked about the Macan S and GLC43 below. But keep in mind you can't go wrong with any of these cars they are all very good. The order of my test drives was SQ5 --> GLC43 --> Macan S.

The GLC43 has a noticeably stronger motor. It pulled harder and had a more hardcore feel to it. The exhaust note was also more raw and raspy. The exterior was not my taste though. The dotted front grill was an eye sore and kept reminding me it's not a real AMG. The rear exhaust tips look like someone melted them. I loved the meaty tires though gave it a nice aggressive look from behind. The interior was good but the front passenger area felt smaller compared to the SQ5. Seats were cushy but the leather quality wasn't as good as Audi. I despise the Command system so that wasn't helping either. The transmission was quick when driven fast but felt laggy when you drove casually. I didn't like it very much. It had more noise inside the cabin compared to the SQ5. The air ride was nicely sprung but it didn't have the adjustability like the SQ5. The SQ5 is very cushy in comfort mode but gets reasonably firm in Dynamic mode.

The Macan S was a fine driver's car. The motor was slick and loved to rev. In fact I thought it was lacking some grunt down low and you had to constantly rev it out. It definitely felt the most agile. The air ride was comfortable though I'd say about as on par with the SQ5. The interior felt a little dated, though it was composed of good quality material. The buttons up and down the center console made me laugh. It's just ridiculous to have that many buttons. The transmission was great fast when you wanted it and smooth when driven normally. The cargo area was smallest of the three and rear seat area was somewhat cramped. The test car had a $79k price tag and it didn't even include keyless entry! Similarly equipped a Macan S is about $18-20k more expensive (not including the additional maintenance costs). Overall a good car but I simply could not find the value in it.

The SQ5 just did everything so well and for a reasonable price. The interior is modern and solid, the ride quality is superb, the tech is best in class, and it's quick enough for me. Also worth mentioning is the fuel mileage I'm getting. Going 65mph and 75mph I get 31mpg and 27mpg respectively. That's significantly better than the EPA rating of 24mpg highway. Even C&D got an observed 75mph highway mileage of 28mpg. Just another way the SQ5 has impressed me.
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      10-04-2017, 11:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnitBobby View Post
After test driving it against a Macan S and GLC43, I came home with this. Ask me anything you'd like!
Looks like we can be twinsies here and on Audiworld.

For the bimmerpost crowd, my SQ5:
Prestige pack with driver assistance and S sport pack, 21" wheels, nappa leather






I have little doubt the X3 M40i is going to be a faster, more sporting SUV but the new SQ5 is no slouch and has the comfort, luxury, and tech side of things really nailed down. The air suspension is just really really really good. I have 4" of height adjustment, the ride is plush on 21s, and the handling is excellent with much improved front turn in compared to prior gen and now with torque vectoring mechanical rear diff. It's still a Torsen Quattro and I'm sure will have better winter capabilities than the X3 although xDrive will be adequate as well.

Anyway, the SQ5 made more sense for me but I can't wait to see those Phytonic Blue M40is!
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      10-04-2017, 11:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Thanks for the feedback! BTW how are the headlights? Do you have DAP?
Headlights are very bright. Best I've owned yet. But... no dynamic cornering lights. There are low speed corner lights that turn on but no swiveling headlights. So far the width and brightness of the LEDs is more than adequate to see everything. They look great too.

I have DAP and I was skeptical that I would like it but I actually love having it. No regrets. It takes some playing around to figure out the controls but once you have it worked out it's a fantastic feature and makes highway driving an incredibly relaxed experience if you want to engage the assistance programs. I have Audi Pre-Sense set to warn at 0.6 sec (very short distance) and it does this with an indicator light on dash and in HUD. I have only had it slam on brakes for obstacles in rear when backing up. The lane departure and active cruise control are near autonomous functioning although you do have to keep your hands on the wheel.

I just love the tech in this car, and I almost never care about car tech!
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      10-05-2017, 12:56 AM   #21
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Congrats guys, great looking cars.
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      10-05-2017, 08:53 AM   #22
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Thanks for the input guys. Congrats and enjoy your rides!
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