2020 Audi Q5 vs 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
By Jakob Hansen, 7/16/2020
As luxury SUVs gain more and more sales, they are quickly becoming a thriving market. How do the Audi Q5 and Alfa Romeo Stelvio compare?
When we began our quest to be the best automotive webpage available. There were only one or two genuine luxury SUVs available. Back in 1999, the BMW X5 pioneered a market, and since then that class has seen increased sales every year.
The Audi Q5 arrived in 2008, ready to take on the X5 with better styling, a more updated interior, and standard all-wheel drive. Today, the Q5 is one of the best selling luxury SUV, outselling even the infamous X5.
Alfa’s contribution to the luxury SUV segment was introduced much later than the others. The X5 and Q5 are both on their third or fourth refresh, while the Stelvio is still dressed in the same clothes it was launched in. Despite it being in its first iteration, it is still an excellent looking and performing SUV, and puts a solid fight up against the originals in this class.
Leaving out the X5, let's dive in to take a look at two SUVs are here to challenge the Bavarian, and see how they stack up against each other.
Since we spend most of our time inside our cars, let’s start there. Both brands have a great start for their interiors. Audi has been making class leading comfort since they Q5 first arrived and Alfa has a history of interesting yet attractive interiors. Both the Alfa and the Audi score strong numbers inside.
The 2020 Audi Q5 has a smart and elegant interior. The well laid out center council and climate control are easy to use. The simple layout is logical and quick to understand, especially if you have spent any time in an Audi before. Audi’s virtual cockpit is also the best in the business. The full-screen map capability is an awesome party trick and one of the most useful functions of the gauge cluster since the speedometer.
The Aud Q5’s best interior feature, however, is its quality. The fit and finish of the Q5 feels precise and substantial. Everything you touch has a weight to it, and feels like it was designed to fit into a WWII fighter plane. Solid “clicks” and heavily weighted buttons greet you on every surface, and the contoured steering wheel fits into your palm like it was built using your own hand as an imprint. The seats and driving position are also excellent, with more than ample adjustability.
The Alfa, on the other hand, is a bit different. Sinking into the driver's seat, you have to do a little wiggle of your butt to get it set just right between heavy bolsters. You reach up and grab the wheel and realize it’s smaller than most others, and is made of materials you would think you’d find in a go-cart, rather than a luxury sedan (which makes sense when you drive it).
The rest of the interior is fine. And that’s the extent of it. While it looks modern and sleek, the fit isn’t as precise as the Audi and the finish is even more off. The electronics are also behind. Not much can compete with Audi’s virtual cockpit, but some semblance of configurability in the gauge cluster would be better than what’s offered.
The size of the interiors are pretty similar, though the Audi is slightly larger, especially in the rear seats. Cargo space for the Audi reaches 25.1 cubic feet, and the Alfa is just under 19. Front leg room is 41 inches and 36.6 for the Audi and Alfa respectively. Rear seats follow a similar motif. 37.8 inches for the Q5 and 31.9 inches for the Alfa.
Surprisingly, these two SUVs are no slouch when it comes to performance. They both come from companies with extensive racing pedigree, and that pedigree is obvious when driving these vehicles.
Disclaimer: We are not including the Audi SQ5 or Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio in this comparison.
The Audi has a tightness about it that is unmatched in almost any other SUV in its class. The steering, throttle, and brake feel as if the engineering tolerances are nearly zero. There must be an entire warehouse of parts that didn’t make the cut during manufacturing. Power comes from a 2.0t 4-cylinder that produces an ample 248 horsepower and is put to the road via all-wheel drive.
For standard driving, the Audi is comfortable, composed, and feels like a nicely weighted sedan with a higher driving position. The issue with the Audi is that when it’s pushed hard, it shows its size. It wallows in the corners and hates to be pushed harder than the wheels can handle. Up to the limit, the Q5 if composed, but on the edge and beyond, if fails to hold a candle to other SUVs in the class.
The Alfa, on the other hand, feels like it was built with the opposite mentality of the Audi. Daily driving and putzing around town are nowhere near as comfortable as the Audi. Imperfections in the road such as potholes and line markers feel less like ant hills and more like mountains. Road noise isn’t great and the ride quality isn’t as smooth as a luxury SUV in this class should be.
But start to push the Alfa more and more, you start to realize what this lass was made for. She doesn’t like to cruise back and forth dropping off the kids to soccer, that’s the secondary purpose of this SUV. The real purpose is driving.
That’s where the difference between this and the Audi comes into play. The Alfa is made to drive, and made to transport people second. The Audi is made to transport first, and drive second. So depending on what’s important to you, will determine what vehicle you will pull into the driveway every day.
To determine the value of a vehicle, you first have to establish what is important to the users of the car. The driver and passenger have to feel like they are getting what they expected out of their vehicle that they paid $X.XX for. So whether that is ample performance, rear leg room, cargo space, or build quality, the buyer has to feel like they have made good use of their money. Both of these SUVs have good value on the dollar, depending on what you are looking for.
Starting at $42,950, the Audi Q5 can make its way up to $53,850 in the highest trim, not including additional options and destination charge.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio has a slightly lower asking price. Starting around $40,295, it can hike its way up to $47,295, excluding options and destination.
When taking all accounts into consideration, the Alfa is a remarkable value for the dollar. It has all the features you will need, enough space for the average SUV buyer, and a driving experience that is worlds better than any other SUV in the class. However, the Audi is a far better all-rounder. It has more features that are newer, and more updated than the Alfa. It has more space, a better-made interior, and a driving experience that is only fractionally worse than the Alfa’s.
In our opinion, the best choice here is the Audi Q5.