Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2012 BMW X5 VS 2012 Nissan Pathfinder Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2012 BMW X5

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VS

2012 Nissan Pathfinder

Safety Comparison

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To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All Wheel Drive is standard on the X5. But it costs extra on the Pathfinder.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the X5’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The BMW X5 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The X5’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The X5 offers an optional Top View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Pathfinder only offers a rear monitor.

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 Pathfinder uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The X5 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X5 is safer than the Pathfinder:

X5

Pathfinder

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

405

637

Chest forces

41 g’s

49 g’s

Leg injuries (L/R)

93 / 700

1684 / 605

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

574

660

Chest forces

48 g’s

50 g’s

Leg injuries (L/R)

754 / 52

919 / 604

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

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 Pathfinder:

X5

Pathfinder

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

22 mm

55 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

-4 mm

50 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Seat Design

Pass

Pass

Torso Acceleration

11.3 g’s

16 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

High

Max Neck Shearing Force

1

294

Max Neck Tension

291

1460

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

Warranty Comparison

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The X5 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Pathfinder’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X5 comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Pathfinder.

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Pathfinder’s (12 vs. 5 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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pathfinder.

Reliability Comparison

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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 Pathfinder’s standard 110 amp alternator and largest (SV/Silver/LE) 130 amp alternator aren’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 Pathfinder’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 13th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 21st in reliability. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 25th.

Engine Comparison

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The X5 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 34 more horsepower (300 vs. 266) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 288) than the Pathfinder’s standard 4.0 DOHC V6. The X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 90 more horsepower (400 vs. 310) and 62 lbs.-ft. more torque (450 vs. 388) than the Pathfinder LE’s optional 5.6 DOHC V8.

The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 137 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 288) than the Pathfinder’s standard 4.0 DOHC V6. The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 388) than the Pathfinder LE’s optional 5.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the X5 xDrive35i is faster than the Nissan Pathfinder V6:

X5

Pathfinder

Zero to 30 MPH

2.1 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.9 sec

7.7 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.3 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

87 MPH

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 Pathfinder:

Torque

X5 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1300 RPM

X5 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

1750 RPM

Pathfinder 4.0 DOHC V6

4000 RPM

Pathfinder LE 5.6 DOHC V8

3400 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive35d gets better fuel mileage than the Pathfinder Auto 4WD (19 city/26 hwy vs. 14 city/20 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive35i gets better fuel mileage than the Pathfinder LE 4x4 V8 (16 city/23 hwy vs. 13 city/18 hwy). The X5 xDrive50i gets better fuel mileage than the Pathfinder LE 4x4 V8 (14 city/20 hwy vs. 13 city/18 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X5 (except diesel)’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The X5 has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pathfinder (22.5 vs. 21.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

X5 xDrive35

X5 xDrive50i

Pathfinder

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.2 inches

11.65 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.12 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The X5 has a standard Brake Assistant to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The X5 stops much shorter than the Pathfinder:

X5

Pathfinder

70 to 0 MPH

157 feet

203 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the X5 has larger standard tires than the Pathfinder (255/55R18 vs. 245/75R16). The X5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pathfinder (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. 265/65R17).

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 Pathfinder S’ standard 75 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 Pathfinder LE’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X5 has standard 18 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the Pathfinder S. The X5’s optional 20 inch wheels are larger than the 18 inch wheels on the Pathfinder LE.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The X5 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The X5 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X5 offers an optional automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 3.3 inches longer than on the Pathfinder (115.5 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X5 is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Pathfinder.

The X5 xDrive35i handles at .89 G’s, while the Pathfinder SV 4x4 pulls only .68 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The X5 xDrive35i performs Car and Driver’s emergency lane change maneuver 7.9 MPH faster than the Pathfinder LE 4x4 (57.8 vs. 49.9 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

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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 Pathfinder doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The X5 has 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom and 2.4 inches more rear legroom than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Ergonomics Comparison

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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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the X5 and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the X5 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The X5’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The X5 has standard lighted power door lock, power window and power mirror switches so that they are easily found at night. The Pathfinder S doesn’t have lighted switches.

The X5 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The X5’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Pathfinder S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Pathfinder SV/Silver/LE’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the X5’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Pathfinder’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The X5 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The X5 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Pathfinder has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SV/Silver/LE.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the X5 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the X5 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer cornering lights. The X5 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

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

When the X5 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Pathfinder’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X5 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pathfinder has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the X5 and the Pathfinder offer available heated front seats. The X5 also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Pathfinder.

The X5’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the X5 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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional BMW Apps for the X5 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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The X5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the X5 will retain a greater percentage of its original price after two and four years than the Pathfinder.

X5

Pathfinder

Four Year

43% to 46%

29% to 33%

Two Year

59% to 64%

44% to 51%

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the X5 is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $735 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the X5 than the Pathfinder, including $51 less for front brake pads, $252 less for a starter, $125 less for fuel injection and $277 less for a fuel pump.

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