Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 BMW X5 VS 2011 Lexus GX460 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2011 BMW X5

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2011 Lexus GX460

Safety Comparison

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the X5 uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The GX460 uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the X5 and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the X5 with Comfort Seats is safer then the GX460:



Overall Evaluation



Head Restraint Design



Distance from Back of Head

22 mm

38 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

-4 mm

78 mm

Dynamic Test Rating



Seat Design



Torso Acceleration

11.3 g’s

12.6 g’s

Neck Force Rating



Max Neck Shearing Force



Max Neck Tension



(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

Warranty Comparison

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the GX460’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Lexus doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GX460.

There are over 77 percent more BMW dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the X5’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the X5’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The GX460’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the GX460’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the X5 has a standard 210 amp alternator (220 amp - X5 xDrive50i). The GX460’s 130 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the X5 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the X5’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The GX460’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

The X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 99 more horsepower (400 vs. 301) and 121 lbs.-ft. more torque (450 vs. 329) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8.

The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 329) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8.

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the X5’s engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the GX460:


X5 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1200 RPM

X5 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

1750 RPM

GX460 4.6 DOHC V8

3500 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive35d gets better fuel mileage than the GX460 (19 city/26 hwy vs. 15 city/20 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive35i gets better fuel mileage than the GX460 (17 city/25 hwy vs. 15 city/20 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the X5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GX460:

X5 xDrive35

X5 xDrive50i


Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.2 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GX460 (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. 265/60R18).

The X5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GX460’s standard 60 series tires. The X5’s optional 275/40R20 front and 315/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the GX460’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The GX460’s largest wheels are only 18 inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The GX460 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the BMW X5 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Lexus GX460 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the GX460 (115.5 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X5 is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the GX460.

The X5 xDrive35d handles at .85 G’s, while the GX460 pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X5 xDrive35d executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GX460 (27.5 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the X5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GX460 (8.7 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the X5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The BMW X5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Lexus GX460.

Unibody construction makes the X5’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The GX460 doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

Passenger Space Comparison

The X5 has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 4.6 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the GX460.

The front step up height for the X5 is 2.2 inches lower than the GX460 (19.5” vs. 21.7”). The X5’s rear step up height is 2.5 inches lower than the GX460’s (19.5” vs. 22”).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X5 easier. The X5’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30 inches, while the GX460’s liftover is 33.8 inches.

The X5 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly, without having to lift, carry or store heavy seats, like in the GX460.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the X5 offers an optional power rear tailgate, which opens and closes completely automatically by pressing a button on the key fob. The GX460 doesn’t offer a power right swing out.

Ergonomics Comparison

The X5 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and navigation instruction readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GX460 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left down on the X5 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the GX460 can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the X5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The GX460 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The X5’s standard power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The GX460’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the X5 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the X5 with a number “5” insurance rate while the GX460 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the X5 is less expensive to operate than the GX460 because it costs $1470 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the X5 than the GX460, including $72 less for a starter, $97 less for fuel injection and $48 less for a fuel pump.

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