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Old 06-17-2017, 02:34 AM   #1
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Question Torque in a mid sized SUVů. looking for our next midsized SUV - BMW X5d vs Audi Q7

Torque in a mid sized SUV…. looking for our next midsized SUV

Hi all

I’m slowly researching our next SUV, and want to get a better understanding of torque.

our current tug is a 2011 MDX
- 300 HP,
273 lbs torque

We tow a 2017 21’ Escape. HVAC, dual solar, dual 6v, etc. but we don’t travel with a ton of stuff… about 5 days worth of food, and minimal weight in the SUV trunk. Tongue weight about 440-ish. Haven’t weighed the loaded trailer, but thinking from the detailed info on this forum, it should be about 4,400 lbs loaded.

Looking at maybe a BMW X5 xDrive35d (diesel - for the most torque)
Horsepower: 255 hp
Torque: 413 lb-ft (holy cow - stunning amount of torque)

or a Audi Q7 3.0T horsepower 333 hp (v6 )
Torque - 325 lb-ft (v6)
towing capacity 7,700 lbs

those are, by far, the top 2 contenders for us.

As far as I can see, the Audi Q7 comes with more standard safety equipment, and doesn’t charge so much for options.

The xDrive35d (diesel) has less horsepower than the Audi Q7, but waaaayyyy more torque than the Audi Q7.

We find that our current tug - a 2011 MDX - 300 HP, 273 lbs torque - is ok, but is slow to merge onto a busy freeway, and is slow to climb mountains.

If we got the Audi Q7 it only has about 10% more horsepower, and only about 18% more torque than our 2011 MDX (with factory tow)

The xDrive35d has less horsepower than the MDX, but about 50% more torque.

Putting aside the differences in cost….. what is going to be better at towing our 21’ Escape - the torque-y xDrive35d diesel ?

and

For what it is worth.... Consumer Reports auto test (that includes info from hundreds of thousands of drivers) indicates that the Audi should be quite a bit more reliable than the BMW.

Consumer Reports auto test puts the Audi Q7 as #1 rated of 16 rated mid sized luxury SUVs, with the BMW x5 as #8 of 16, overall.

thanks

John
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:21 AM   #2
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John,
I'm a diesel guy and love our Ram 3.0 240 hp and 420 lb/ft, but you're looking for an SUV.

Jeep has the same 3.0 diesel in the Grand Cherokee, but is embroiled in the emissions hoopla, so can only be bought used. Some owners have gotten that Jeep with the V8 gas Hemi and swear by that engine.

The Audi Q7 can also be bought used with the same 3.0 liter diesel as I have, but again only used due to the emissions litigation. Check cargurus.com as a search engine.

If I were looking, I'd include the Ford Explorer. It can be had with the 3.5 Eco-Boost that owners love in the F-150's. 365hp and 350 lb/ft.
I don't know anything about the BMW X-5 diesel, but all I can say is test drive everything.
Bill
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
John,
I'm a diesel guy and love our Ram 3.0 240 hp and 420 lb/ft, but you're looking for an SUV.

Jeep has the same 3.0 diesel in the Grand Cherokee, but is embroiled in the emissions hoopla, so can only be bought used. Some owners have gotten that Jeep with the V8 gas Hemi and swear by that engine.

The Audi Q7 can also be bought used with the same 3.0 liter diesel as I have, but again only used due to the emissions litigation. Check cargurus.com as a search engine.

If I were looking, I'd include the Ford Explorer. It can be had with the 3.5 Eco-Boost that owners love in the F-150's. 365hp and 350 lb/ft.
I don't know anything about the BMW X-5 diesel, but all I can say is test drive everything.
Bill
Thanks Bill for the great info.

How well does your Ram 3.0 240 hp and 420 lb/ft tow your 21'?

Does it easily merge onto a fast freeway?

Does it scamper up mountains?

those #'s are similar to the BMW X5 diesel.

thanks

john
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
John,
I'm a diesel guy and love our Ram 3.0 240 hp and 420 lb/ft, but you're looking for an SUV.

Jeep has the same 3.0 diesel in the Grand Cherokee, but is embroiled in the emissions hoopla, so can only be bought used. Some owners have gotten that Jeep with the V8 gas Hemi and swear by that engine.

The Audi Q7 can also be bought used with the same 3.0 liter diesel as I have, but again only used due to the emissions litigation. Check cargurus.com as a search engine.

If I were looking, I'd include the Ford Explorer. It can be had with the 3.5 Eco-Boost that owners love in the F-150's. 365hp and 350 lb/ft.
I don't know anything about the BMW X-5 diesel, but all I can say is test drive everything.
Bill
The 2017 Ram 1500 Eco Diesel is also on hold due to failing to pass emissions tests. I have the Ram 1500 V8 Hemi with the 8 speed transmission and 3.92 rearend. It's okay for towing my 17 ft Casita , but have no idea how it would tow an Escape 21 which is considerably heavier than my Casita.
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Thanks Bill for the great info.

How well does your Ram 3.0 240 hp and 420 lb/ft tow your 21'?

Does it easily merge onto a fast freeway?

Does it scamper up mountains?

those #'s are similar to the BMW X5 diesel.

thanks

john
Our 1500 Eco-Diesel Ram 4WD weighs almost 6,000 lbs., and it is a crew-cab, so scamper is not a word I'd use. It does have the ZF 8-speed automatic that is used in brands like BMW (including the X5), Rolls-Royce, and Maserati, so that suits me just fine. I've never really floored it with the trailer attched, but I imagine it would squeal the tires, and merging is one of my favorite things. Fully loaded for a month on the road, we are between 10,000 and 11,000 lbs, and can go the posted speeds up any normal interstate grades. I used to have to constantly judge what gear to keep our 4Runner in and monitor temps. Not anymore. Cruise control most of the time. Torque's the word.

I wish I knew more about the X5 to express an opinion, but I've never been in one or heard from anyone towing with one, gas or diesel. If you're seriously considering the X5 diesel, I'd try to find a forum of owners and search for those who tow. Haven't seen one as a tow vehicle for Escape. You might call the office and see if they have a record of who may have picked up with one. Dennis might remember setting up the hitch on one.
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Old 06-17-2017, 02:03 PM   #6
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What you "need" in a tow vehicle has everything to do with your own perceptions. But it also has a great deal to do with how and where you drive.

If you expect to use Interstates and high speeds a lot and maybe go up many mountains, that is entirely different from being on state highways and country roads at a slower speed and letting people pass you. If you expect to cover huge miles in a day much of the time, that is not the same as taking your time and seeing closer areas.

People have their ideas about what they want for speed and terrain and those ideas are not the same. How you travel and drive determines what you "need." Speed is central to that. Not everyone is in a hurry.
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Old 06-17-2017, 02:31 PM   #7
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Our 2012 Touareg TDI scampers while towing 4,500 lbs of 8' wide travel trailer. It's rated to 7,700 lbs of towing. I think the X5 would be similar or even better with the same torque and more HP. You are also towing an Escape 21 vs our old square 8' wide travel trailer that was not aerodynamic at all, so I can confidently say you will like it.

Our experience is almost exactly the opposite of yours. We are switching from the diesel Touareg to a Honda Pilot which is the Honda version of your MDX. Towing our 17B with the Touareg was absolutely fantastic. You hear this a lot from people but it's true in this case -- we didn't even know it was back there. At under 50% of the rated tow capacity that makes sense.

The Pilot is no slouch though, and for our 17B it's more than adequate. Plenty of power, but you need to get up around 4,000 rpm for the real power. Luckily it is super quiet so even at high RPMs it's not bad at all. I have no problem merging on freeways. You are claiming about 1200 lbs more loaded for travel than we are though. That would make a big difference and I agree that the MDX/Pilot is not the ideal vehicle for that trailer.
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Old 06-17-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by float5 View Post
What you "need" in a tow vehicle has everything to do with your own perceptions. But it also has a great deal to do with how and where you drive.

If you expect to use Interstates and high speeds a lot and maybe go up many mountains, that is entirely different from being on state highways and country roads at a slower speed and letting people pass you. If you expect to cover huge miles in a day much of the time, that is not the same as taking your time and seeing closer areas.

People have their ideas about what they want for speed and terrain and those ideas are not the same. How you travel and drive determines what you "need." Speed is central to that. Not everyone is in a hurry.
Fair points... i guess I should define "scamper"

with our next tug (which is limited to mid-sized SUV, due to narrow driveway and spousal demands) I'd like to tow our 21' (with 5 days food, etc etc) with a full fresh water tank but empty black and grey.... up just about any grade we encounter in USA, at 60 MPH, comfortably.

so my question is... is that more about torque, or more about horsepower?

I know power curves vary.... and i know it is a balance of the two....

Our Acura MDX has 300 HP, but it somewhat light in the torque department...

Would the 2017 Audi Q7 be much better, with 10% more horsepower and 18% more torque (and more gears) than our 2011 Acura MDX?

thanks everyone for the info... much appreciated!

John
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:03 PM   #9
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I'm not sure if either the Acura or BMW are set up for towing, do they have auxiliary cooling for both the transmission and engine, do they have a frame body or unibody that sometimes restrict hitch installation, do they have built in brake controller and a tow mode in the transmission that brakes when going down hills. My Ram 1500 has all of these features with 400 hp and about the same torque. With a 8 sp transmission and 3:21 rear end I'm averaging 16 mpg towing and close to 20 unhitched. Sometimes on flat roads it even switches to "eco" mode which means only 4 cyl are activated.
With the smaller motors in the Acura and BMW they try to make it more powerful with turbo power to give you that v-8 feeling but v-6 economy. So which motor will last and not have to work harder in order to keep up? I know my Ram doesn't need to go past 3000-3500 rpm to get up any mountain so I'm not working it as hard as the smaller motor would have to be. So perhaps the answer lies not just with what the torque is, but the overall package.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:38 PM   #10
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Torque gets you moving, horsepower gets you to the finish line faster.


I was following for several "hills" a 3500 diesel towing a larger trailer (from memory, one that was perhaps 9000lb dry, so large but not a behemoth). Anyways, he would being doing 65 on the flats (as was I), then slow down to perhaps 50? on the incline up. I would pass him doing somewhere in the 60's. By the bottom of the hills, he would put the hammer down and pass me. Again, 65 on the flats. Then repeat.




...

I would humbly suggest getting the one that has a high WAF and seeing about modding it for towing comfort afterwards.


...

I was a passenger in an X5 diesel once. Love at first sight.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:41 PM   #11
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I'm not sure if either the Acura or BMW are set up for towing, do they have auxiliary cooling for both the transmission and engine, do they have a frame body or unibody that sometimes restrict hitch installation, do they have built in brake controller and a tow mode in the transmission that brakes when going down hills. My Ram 1500 has all of these features with 400 hp and about the same torque. With a 8 sp transmission and 3:21 rear end I'm averaging 16 mpg towing and close to 20 unhitched. Sometimes on flat roads it even switches to "eco" mode which means only 4 cyl are activated.
With the smaller motors in the Acura and BMW they try to make it more powerful with turbo power to give you that v-8 feeling but v-6 economy. So which motor will last and not have to work harder in order to keep up? I know my Ram doesn't need to go past 3000-3500 rpm to get up any mountain so I'm not working it as hard as the smaller motor would have to be. So perhaps the answer lies not just with what the torque is, but the overall package.
So you are suggesting we don't get a mid sized luxury SUV?

Let me put you on the phone with my wife, Jim.

Then tell me how that conversation goes.

In the meantime I am trying to educate myself - about horsepower vs torque.



John
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:44 PM   #12
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for a suggestion on the BMW forums, hit up Xoutpost. Was a great resource a few years ago.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:45 PM   #13
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My idea of more torque is that it is for pulling away, for instance, quicker from a light. That is the last thing I want to do with a trailer. Pulling away quickly from lights is one of the biggest ways that cars use more gas even when not towing.

As far as driving anywhere, I do not expect to tow the trailer at the speed that I would drive the vehicle if I were not towing. There are even laws in many states that restrict the towing speed to ten miles per hour less than vehicles alone, perhaps often for particular roads, not necessarily in general. As long as you have two lanes in your direction, people can pass you which is what most of the traffic should be doing many times, as I expect vehicles to be going faster than someone towing.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:03 PM   #14
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No go on the Lexus Gx460, then? Seems like that would be better than either of the current choices.

As a previous owner of a couple of BMWs (including an older generation X5 that we never used as a tow vehicle), here are my thoughts:

First, cross BMW off of your list based on reliability alone. Don't test drive it, don't let your wife test drive it, and don't get sucked in by the fantastic handling, awesome driving dynamics, and plush interior. There is a reason for its reliability ranking in Consumer Reports! You will not believe what can (and will) break, usually at the most inopportune times. Water pumps, window regulators, various electric harnesses, headlight assemblies, etc. I can send you reams of service records if you need more proof. I shudder to think what towing would do to one over a period of years.

Not only is all of this very costly once you are out of warranty, the kinds of places one typically tows an Escape are the very places where you don't want things going wrong. If you go this route, re-up your AAA membership and have the best possible cell coverage.

Second, even assuming you have the deep pockets and endless patience necessary for owning a luxury German SUV, I echo Jim's suggestion to consider the design intent of these vehicles and what it is you are trying to accomplish. Both the BMW and Audi are designed to offer a premium "driving experience" with outstanding handling. Once you attach one to several thousand pounds of fiberglass trailer, you lose many of the very traits that make these vehicles (occasionally) worth the headaches and expense.

Step away from the numbers (I think you have been looking at models that are close enough that it won't make a practical difference) and evaluate what you are trying to prioritize. If this vehicle's primary use will be towing, I think there are other options that will offer the power you seem to want, better reliability, better overall towing behavior, and with a nice interior that your wife can enjoy.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:21 PM   #15
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So you are suggesting we don't get a mid sized luxury SUV?

Let me put you on the phone with my wife, Jim.

Then tell me how that conversation goes.

In the meantime I am trying to educate myself - about horsepower vs torque.



John
After 47 years of marriage one thing is sure , What I want in a vehicle and what my wife wants in a vehicle are two different things. She's happy with her sporty little compact car and I like my fullsize truck. Are you buying a commuter vehicle or a tow vehicle ?
A German luxury SUV that is expensive to buy and maintain would not be my first choice , assuming I got to make the choice .
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:27 PM   #16
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Today's trucks are NOT your grandfather's truck. I love my F-150. Well appointed, VERY comfortable driving... AND I can haul manure if I need too . And, it tows Ten Forward very well. What's not to like?

BTW... federal DOT has now defined 1/2 ton trucks as "passenger vehicles," if that matters to you.
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:35 PM   #17
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No go on the Lexus Gx460, then? Seems like that would be better than either of the current choices.

As a previous owner of a couple of BMWs (including an older generation X5 that we never used as a tow vehicle), here are my thoughts:

First, cross BMW off of your list based on reliability alone. Don't test drive it, don't let your wife test drive it, and don't get sucked in by the fantastic handling, awesome driving dynamics, and plush interior. There is a reason for its reliability ranking in Consumer Reports! You will not believe what can (and will) break, usually at the most inopportune times. Water pumps, window regulators, various electric harnesses, headlight assemblies, etc. I can send you reams of service records if you need more proof. I shudder to think what towing would do to one over a period of years.

Not only is all of this very costly once you are out of warranty, the kinds of places one typically tows an Escape are the very places where you don't want things going wrong. If you go this route, re-up your AAA membership and have the best possible cell coverage.

Second, even assuming you have the deep pockets and endless patience necessary for owning a luxury German SUV, I echo Jim's suggestion to consider the design intent of these vehicles and what it is you are trying to accomplish. Both the BMW and Audi are designed to offer a premium "driving experience" with outstanding handling. Once you attach one to several thousand pounds of fiberglass trailer, you lose many of the very traits that make these vehicles (occasionally) worth the headaches and expense.

Step away from the numbers (I think you have been looking at models that are close enough that it won't make a practical difference) and evaluate what you are trying to prioritize. If this vehicle's primary use will be towing, I think there are other options that will offer the power you seem to want, better reliability, better overall towing behavior, and with a nice interior that your wife can enjoy.
Thanks much Canyonrider.... really good reminder of BMWs possible headaches.

Yeah my mechanic was strongly cautioning me about german vehicle possible running costs.

One of his most telling comments was: when he sees a German car (Audi, BMW) it is almost never the original owner. He has seen a pattern of... just before the warranty it up, the original owner gets rid of it.

As opposed to Toyota / Lexus / Honda / Acura.... who's owners tend to keep them for a long time, have fewer problems, and lower running costs.... he commented.

Consumer Report's huge auto survey sure does seem to back up those observations!

anyway... i test drove the Lexus GX 460 and I found the drive around town to be shuddery, jittery, and pretty bad, just as Consumer Reports noticed. It was not nice, and the Audi Q7 handles and drives and feels much much better.

Fingers crossed that maybe within our timeframe (3-5 years) maybe Toyota / Lexus / Honda / Acura will come out with something that fits our needs, and handles better.... ?

To answer the question.... the SUV will be used for towing our 21' Escape, but it will also be a 2nd car for us, and need to be driven for work for both my wife and I. She has very specific desires for the vehicle (mid sized SUV, luxury) that are non negotiable, so this is why I am looking for a vehicle that is the best overall compromise.

We do not "full time" in the Escape .... if we did we'd be looking at a very different vehicle.


thanks

john
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:34 PM   #18
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:40 PM   #19
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No go on the Lexus Gx460, then? Seems like that would be better than either of the current choices......
we thought aboiut a Lexus GX460, but it had two strikes against it: the back door opens with hinges on the side, like a barn door. So you would have problems opening it with the trailer attached. Secondly, it want premium gasoline, with is not only an additional expense, but I noticed a few stations that we stopped at didn't stock premium gasoline.
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:02 PM   #20
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Fair enough. Given your criteria, the Q7 (or VW Touareg) would seem to be good choices.
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