A comparison of BMW SUVs: BMW X5 vs X3 is a battle of price, fuel efficiency, cargo space and interior luxury.
Increasingly, the luxury SUV line of automobiles is becoming one of the more competitive (and rarefied) niche markets, both domestically and globally. Since first introducing its X5 into the conversation in 2000, BMW has been giving its competition fits. In 2004, BMW doubled down on its bet on this emerging market by introducing a little brother, the BMW X3. Both are made with BMW's famous engineering standards and a nod to its self-proclaimed status as the Ultimate Driving Machine. It might be worth sizing these two up against each other. As you conduct a BMW X5 vs. X3 comparison, use Reply! to find the most competitive price quotes from BMW dealers in your area.
BMW X5 vs X3 Tale of the Tape
|Specs||BMW X3||BMW X5|
The BMW X3 is a near-compact SUV that really punches above its weight, especially when it comes to dramatic design features and its sleek exterior. There are four variations of the X3 to choose from:
- X3 sDrive 28i
- X2 xDrive 281
- X3 xDrive 28d
- X3 xDrive 35i
The primary differences between each model can be found in the standard features, power and price of each successive model.
If you are looking for a sports utility vehicle that has enough power to carry cargo in addition to its passengers, all four X3 models offer both efficiency and performance. The 28i models come with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers an impressive 240-hp. The 28d (the “D” is for diesel) was introduced in 2014 and features BMW’s 2.0-liter, 4-cylinde diesel engine that sacrifices horsepower for fuel efficiency, delivering a more pedestrian 180-hp. The 35i barely contains its 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine that delivers a full 300-hp. All four models of the X3 come with BMW’s eight-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, dynamic handling and brake energy regeneration. The electric power steering allows for quick response time, so you can enjoy a comfortable driving experience.
For drivers who need to stay connected to the outside world while they drive, the X3 is an ideal choice. All four models come with an increasingly impressive variety of technological features, with the top lines featuring the Bluetooth Office that allows you to check email and receive text messages in the car; it will even read your email out loud to you while you drive. The USB interface allows you to connect your smart phone to the car, and the wide display screen allows maximum visibility. The head-up display projects your speed and route information onto the windshield, so you can see them without looking down.
The X3 models are chock full of safety features including multiple front and side airbags and a unique sensor system that prevents unnecessary deployment. They also come with a crash sensor system that shuts off fuel supply in an accident to avoid fires, and daytime running lights.
All four X3 models are covered by BMW’s 4-year/50,000 mile limited warranty and both car and driver are protected by 4-year’s worth of BMW’s Unlimited Roadside Assistance program.
While fuel efficiency may not be the first thing on the minds of serious shoppers weighing the X3 as an option, it is important when considering total cost of ownership. The X3’s get from 17-20 mpg in the city and from 26-34 mpg on the highway (the diesel model is the most fuel efficient.)
For 2014, the MSRP for the X3’s start at $38,400 for the sDrive 28i, $40,400 for the xDrive 28i, $41,900 for the xDrive 28d and top out at $45,100 for the xDrive 35i.
For 2014, BMW streamlined the X5 model options to keep it more in line with some of the other models in the X class (like the X3.) There are now four models in the X5 family:
- X5 sDrive 35i
- X5 xDrive 35i
- X5 xDrive 35d
- X5 xDrive 50i
(You see a pattern here?)
Both of the X5 25i models are powered with a 3.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder, 24-valve 300-hp engine. The X5 35d (again, “D” is for diesel) features the 3.0-liter, dual overhead cam (DOHC), inline 6-cylinder, 24-valve, 255-hp BMW Advanced Diesel engine with aluminum engine block. The top-of-its-class X5 50i powers over all the other models with its 4.4-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo V-8, 32-valve 445-hp engine. All four models come equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Transmission Control (ATC).
Like the X3 models, the X5’s come with an impressive array of safety features including multiple front and side airbags, active head restraints in the front seats, a safety crash sensor and an additional rollover sensor that triggers airbags and safety-belt pretensioners in the event of a rollover.
If you have a family or frequently need to carry large items, the X5 features some convenient configuration options. The third row of seats folds down, so you can fit large cargo items when necessary. It has a fully finished cargo area with velour carpeting and a remote trunk release (and each one comes with a cargo cover.)
The X5 comes with Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free calling and phonebook downloading capabilities. Each model features BMW’s iDrive system with on-board computer and touchpad controller, and eight programmable memory buttons. Included with this system is the BMW Navigation system with 10.2-inch high-resolution screen; 3-D maps; 200 GB hard drive with 20 GB storage for audio files, voice feedback and voice command system.
While fuel efficiency isn’t the primary reason why a person would consider purchasing an X5, you won’t need your own oil well to drive one of these. Fuel efficiency ratings range from 15-18 mpg in city driving to 22-31 mpg in highway traffic (again, the diesel engine options will get you the best fuel efficiency.)
All of the X5 models are covered with the same warranty available to the X3 owners: 4-year/50,000 mile limited warranty; and 4-year’s worth of BMW’s Unlimited Roadside Assistance program.
The X5 lands heavily on the “luxury” side of the equation here and that’s evident in the price tag you’ll face trying to get into one. For 2014, the starting MSRP for the X5 sDrive 35i is $52,800. The X5 xDrive 351 has a starting MSRP of $55,100. The X5 xDive 35d carries a starting MSRP of $56,600. The top-of-the-heap X5 xDrive 501 will cost you a cool $68,200 (and that’s without optional upgrades.)
The X5 and the X3 are powerful and luxurious, so you can drive in complete comfort. Whether you have a large family or would like more space for yourself, both vehicles allow flexible cargo areas. As you consider a BMW X5 vs. X3 comparison, use Reply! to set up test drives and get the lowest price quotes in your area.
About the Author Alex Gabriel
Alex Gabriel is a content editor at Reply! with several years of digital marketing and and copywriting experience. A native of Portland and graduate of the University of Oregon, Alex has a passion for test-driving new cars he can’t afford. Click here to connect with Alex on Google+.