This question was asked recently as the used car marketplace gets filled with low priced premium vehicles that were once out of reach for the middle class Malaysian. Well, today, some 8 to 10 plus years later, depreciation has hit this segment hard, very hard and there are some very interesting possibilities popping up every week in the many online used vehicle websites.
Here we look at two premium SUV’s that arrived at the same time in Malaysia with almost similar pricing and features.
When Did The Q5 Arrive?
Euromobil Sdn. Bhd, the official importer of Audi in Malaysia announced the arrival of the first Audi Q5 in late 2012 at about RM328,000 on the road.
Only one engine variant was available which was a 2.0L TFSI which combined direct fuel injection with forced induction to deliver 225hp and 350Nm of torque. Equipped with an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, it powered the Q5 from zero to 100km/h in 7.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 222km/h. It was fully imported and sold very well, even with the AP recon market.
This Q5 at the time had one direct rival. The BMW X3.
When Did The X3 Arrive?
In late 2012, BMW Malaysia introduced a face-lifted X3 at RM358,800 with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo petrol engine, making the vehicle set new standards in agility, performance and fuel efficiency. It also had a new infotainment system. This TwinPower Turbo engine combined Double-VANOS, VALVETRONIC and BMW’s High Precision Injection direct injection system to produce 184hp with a torque of 270Nm, allowing the X3 to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 8.6 seconds.
So, now in the used car classifieds, both SUV’s have seen a high depreciation by exactly the same percentage. Yes, the Audi Q5 has depreciated by about 80 percent and the BMW X3 too, by about 80 percent. So, which is the better buy today in the used car market?
The Used Q5
Let’s start with the Audi Q5. Stylish, well built (like all other Audi’s) and quick, this SUV sold very well and after a couple of years, the used AP market was filled with cheaper units. The problem with the used recon units were after sales and warranty which only the Euromobil new imported units had.
It would be best to buy a used unit that was imported in by Euromobil as you will be able to track all ‘soft’ recalls and software upgrades done. Yes, the recon units might have found themselves in professional workshops that carried our similar work, but records should be available for your viewing.
Some high mileage TFSI engines have been known to need a top overhaul and by now a number of major parts would have been changed. Generally, Audi parts will last and there are dozens of professional parts suppliers and workshops now in major cities. The cabin wear on an Audi is better over its German rivals. So you will find less issues, unless abused. There are many parts suppliers online for worn buttons, switches and plastic panels. Surprisingly well priced and easy to get.
Major issues with the Q5 start will be excessive engine oil consumption, like with all other TFSI engines (Golf GTi Mk5 also) and half way before the next service you will need to top up one liter or so of engine oil. Also, if the engine has done more than 150,000 kilometers, then you probably need a top overhaul which could set you back about RM5,000 or so.
Then there is the center locking that is prone to failure – which can be easily fixed at a cost of between RM250 to RM300 a door. To change the system, you’ll be looking at paying double at approximately RM550+.
Used prices today range from between RM50,000 to RM60,000.
The Used X3
With any used BMW vehicles past 5-7 years old and with more than 100,000km run in, you will find wear and tear parts starting to ‘go’. Yes, BMW parts are priced a little bit more. Some second hand owners tend to start looking at used parts and this starts creating issues.
Interior wear on any BMW can get worrisome after its 6-7th year with brittle plastic panels, worn buttons and cracked high use parts in the cabin.
Replacement parts are easily found online, but are not that well priced as with the Audi. You can get used parts, but colour matching might be an issue as they come from different countries.
Driving a used 8-9-year-old Q5 might be more rewarding over the X3 as it will be quicker, more agile and return better handling, assuming all parts are running well. Also, the X3 cabin is slightly smaller.
The BMW with its firmer ride will have the cabin rattling more due to our badly maintained city roads and its firmer suspension system.
The trade-off comes with different earlier owners. Vehicles with just one owner on sale will be probably better looked after (interior and mechanicals) while multiple owners over the years would have tried to save money by taking the cheaper, less sensible route. Here, the BMW also is prone to oil leaks which are caused by deteriorating valve cover gaskets, or cracks in the valve cover themselves. Over time, the rubber gasket for the valve cover deteriorates from normal wear and tear and can allow oil to leak out onto the exterior of the engine. Fixing this issue will be around RM5,000 upwards depending where you go and could occur after the 200,000 kilometers run in.
Engine timing chain should be regularly checked and not only when change is required. If you feel the engine getting lethargic and there is poor idling, time to take a look at the timing chain.
The Audi has a power door lock issue, with this BMW, it’s the power window regulator. Not to worry though as it is easy to fix and will cost between RM400 to RM800 a door, so shop around. Do not ignore regular maintenance and approved engine oil type. This is where problems can occur if cheaper options are used. As BMW engines get older, it is best to service 1,000 kilometers or so before due service mileage. Yes, it costs money, but it prevents future issues.
Used prices today range from between RM60,000 to RM65,000.
Which to buy? Well, the Q5 still looks rather fresh and modern as the Audi design language until today has not changed much. A fresh coat of paint (better a bright colour) and some stylish new alloy wheels will have your friends thinking you bought a latest edition Q5. With the X3, it is already looking very dated as the following generations of the X3 have changed drastically, plus the X3 is more expensive in the used car market.
If you do decide on the Q5, my suggestion is to choose a bright colour like blue, red, orange or green (the new Audi range of colours). Then lower the Q5 to give it a more aggressive stance. Fit some modern looking 18 to 19-inch alloys and upgrade the rear exhaust tips to a slightly larger diameter and you’re ready to go.