Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 Porsche CAYENNE VS 2011 BMW X3 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2011 Porsche CAYENNE

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2011 BMW X3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Cayenne have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Cayenne are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Cayenne offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The X3 doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Cayenne’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X3 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver's blind spots.

Both the Cayenne and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Cayenne has a standard 220 amp alternator. The X3’s 210 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in reliability. With 55 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 17th.

Engine Comparison

The Cayenne has more powerful engines than the X3:



Cayenne 3.6 DOHC V6

300 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne Hybrid 3.6 DOHC V6

380 HP

427 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne S 4.8 DOHC V8

400 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne Turbo 4.8 turbo V8

500 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

X3 xDrive28i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

240 HP

221 lbs.-ft.

X3 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Cayenne Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the X3 xDrive35i (21 city/25 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

The Cayenne’s standard fuel tank has 4.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3 (22.4 vs. 17.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Cayenne’s optional fuel tank has 8.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3 (26.4 vs. 17.7 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Cayenne’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X3:


Cayenne Turbo

X3 xDrive28i

X3 xDrive35i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

16.14 inches

12.9 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

14.57 inches

12.9 inches

13 inches

The Cayenne offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The X3 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Cayenne has larger standard tires than the X3 (255/55R18 vs. 245/55R17). The Cayenne’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (265/50R19 vs. 245/55R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cayenne has standard 18 inch wheels. Smaller 17 inch wheels are standard on the X3 xDrive28i. The Cayenne’s optional 21 inch wheels are larger than the 18 inch wheels on the X3 xDrive35i.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Cayenne (except Hybrid) offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The X3 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The Cayenne offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. BMW doesn’t offer an active suspension on the X3.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cayenne’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the X3 (114 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Cayenne is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the X3.

For greater off-road capability the Cayenne has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (8.7 vs. 8.5 inches), allowing the Cayenne to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Cayenne Turbo’s minimum ground clearance is 2.25 inches higher than on the X3 (10.75 vs. 8.5 inches).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Cayenne has 1.2 inches more front shoulder room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cayenne’s rear seats recline. The X3’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Cayenne has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (23.7 vs. 19 cubic feet). The Cayenne has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (62.9 vs. 56.6 cubic feet).

The Cayenne’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The X3’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the X3, the Cayenne offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Cayenne’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Cayenne’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The X3 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Cayenne’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The X3’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Cayenne detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The X3 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Cayenne has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The X3 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

To shield the driver’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side window, the Cayenne has a standard extendable sun visor. The X3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Cayenne’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The X3 doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Cayenne offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The X3 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To help keep rear passengers entertained, the Cayenne offers optional rear seat controls for the radio which can play a separate audio source. The X3 doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.

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