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Car group tests

Lexus NX vs Audi Q5

Lexus has fitted the NX with a turbocharged petrol engine in the pursuit of performance SUV perfection. Can it beat the Q5?

Turbo power is all the rage these days. As car makers reduce engine sizes to improve efficiency, they’re turning to turbos to maintain performance. However, that hasn’t always been the case.

Best 4x4s and SUVs to buy

Back in the day, bolting a turbo to a petrol engine was a quick way to produce a hot flagship – and this is exactly the approach that Lexus has taken with its new NX 200t.

The new engine is offered exclusively in F Sport trim to further boost its racy credentials, while power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

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We’ve lined up another turbo petrol crossover to rival the NX here, in the shape of the Audi Q5, which is available with the brand’s excellent 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine.

The S line Plus model offers plenty of kit to rival the Lexus, while quattro four-wheel drive and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox help put the power on the road. So, does the NX turbo have the punch to beat it?

Lexus NX review

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Audi Q5 review

Click on the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to find out the result of this twin-test...

Head-to-head

Boot space

The Q5 has a practicality advantage over the NX, due to its wider boot opening and the 540 litres of space on offer with the seats up. Both cars get a fixed parcel shelf with a hinged section to improve access, and they also feature electric tailgates. However, the Lexus’ powered bootlid was fiddly to use – it proved so slow to react when we pressed the button, we were left wondering if it actually worked in the first place.

Headlight tech

You get LED headlights as standard on the NX, and they are supplemented by IS-style running lamps set into the bodywork. The Audi features xenon lights with halo-style daytime running lamps, and these can be upgraded to adaptive xenons for £330.

Alternative fuel

You can save cash on both cars by going for different engines. The hybrid NX 300h F Sport costs £1,100 less, promises 54.3mpg (compared to 35.8mpg) and does 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds. The Q5 2.0 TDI S line Plus S tronic diesel is only £115 cheaper, but economy of 47.1mpg trumps the 39.2mpg TFSI.

Verdict

1st place: Audi Q5

The Q5 was a clear victor in this test. It’s getting on a bit, but it still has first-rate build quality, while the S line Plus model boasts plenty of standard kit. It’s better to drive than the NX, with greater cruising comfort and tidier handling in corners. Add in better economy and lower running costs, and it makes more sense; although if you want to save cash, we’d recommend the 2.0 TDI over the TFSI tested here.

2nd place: Lexus NX

It’s hard to tell who the NX 200t is supposed to be aimed at. The turbo petrol engine isn’t the most responsive performer, while the soggy chassis and vague steering mean the Lexus isn’t very sporty to drive. Combine that with poorer economy and higher running costs, and the Audi runs rings around the newcomer. Buyers would be better off saving some cash and going for the NX 300h hybrid model instead.

Key specs:

 Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro S line PlusLexus NX 200t F Sport
On the road price/total as tested£39,170/£41,585£38,095/£40,735
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£19,742/50.4%£16,990/44.6%
Depreciation£19,428£21,105
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,174/£4,348£2,337/£4,674
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£2,064/£3,440£2,387/£3,979
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost30/£381/H/£20538/£530/I/£225
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£18p/m (3yrs)£245/£445/£245
   
Length/wheelbase4,629/2,807mm4,630/2,660mm
Height/width1,655/1,898mm1,645/1,845mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,984cc4cyl in-line/1,998cc
Peak power/revs222/4,500 bhp/rpm235/4,800 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs350/1,500 Nm/rpm350/1,650 Nm/rpm
Transmission8-spd Tiptronic/4WD6-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel75 litres/repair kit60 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)540/1,560 litres475/1,520 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,755/610/2,400kg1,735/600/1,500kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.7 metres/N/A11.4 metres/0.34Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/12110,000 miles (1yr)/51
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.12th/26th4th/1st
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars92/84/32/5 (2009)82/82/69/5 (2014)
   
0-60/30-70mph6.4/6.2 seconds6.6/6.3 seconds
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.1/3.8 seconds3.6/5.5 seconds
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th5.2/6.8/8.5 secs/N/A7.7/10.3 secs/N/A/N/A
Top speed/rpm at 70mph138mph/1,900rpm124mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph46.4/33.6/8.7m49.9/36.6/10.3m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph61/48/57/64dB63/52/57/67dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range29.5/6.5/487 miles25.5/5.6/337 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined33.2/43.5/39.2mpg27.2/43.5/35.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined7.3/9.6/8.6mpl6.0/9.6/7.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket221/168g/km/28%256/183g/km/31%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/£340Eight/yes/yes/£1,995
Auto box/adapt dampers/adapt cruiseYes/£680/£900Yes/£750/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/£300Yes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LEDs/power tailgateYes/no/yes£645/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yes£995/yes/yes/yes
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