Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW X5 VS 2015 Ford Explorer Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW X5

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VS

2015 Ford Explorer

Safety Comparison

The X5 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Explorer doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The X5 offers optional City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Explorer doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the X5 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Explorer doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The X5 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

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

Warranty Comparison

The X5 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Explorer’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, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Explorer.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the X5 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Explorer’s standard 175-amp alternator and largest (XLT/Limited/Sport) 200-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 Explorer’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in reliability. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 17th.

Engine Comparison

The X5 has more powerful engines than the Explorer:

Horsepower

Torque

X5 s/xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

X5 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

445 HP

480 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Sport 3.5 turbo V6

365 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 15 more horsepower (255 vs. 240) and 143 lbs.-ft. more torque (413 vs. 270) than the Explorer’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 158 lbs.-ft. more torque (413 vs. 255) than the Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (413 vs. 350) than the Explorer Sport’s standard 3.5 turbo V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW X5 is faster than the Ford Explorer:

X5 s/xDrive35i

X5 xDrive50i

Explorer 2.0 ECOBoost

Explorer V6

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

4.3 sec

9.2 sec

8.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

12.8 sec

16.9 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95.1 MPH

106.9 MPH

82.9 MPH

88.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive35i gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer Sport 4WD (18 city/27 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X5’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Explorer doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The X5 has 3.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Explorer (22.4 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

X5

X5 xDrive50i

Explorer

Front Rotors

13.1 inches

15.2 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.8 inches

The X5 stops much shorter than the Explorer:

X5

Explorer

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X5 has larger standard tires than the Explorer (255/55R18 vs. 245/60R18). The X5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Explorer (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. 255/50R20).

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 Explorer’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 Explorer’s optional 50 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available 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 Explorer doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The X5 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Ford doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Explorer.

The X5 offers an available 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 Explorer’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X5 has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Explorer doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the Explorer (115.5 inches vs. 112.6 inches).

The X5 xDrive35d handles at .82 G’s, while the Explorer XLT 4WD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X5 xDrive50i executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.9 seconds quicker than the Explorer Limited (26.3 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the X5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Explorer (8.2 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the X5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The X5 is 3.9 inches shorter than the Explorer, making the X5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the BMW X5 amounts to more than styling. The X5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Explorer (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the X5 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The X5’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Explorer’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics Comparison

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

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 Explorer’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

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 Explorer 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 Explorer’s standard 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 Explorer doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the X5’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Explorer’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 Explorer doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X5 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Explorer doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The X5’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport.

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 Explorer’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X5 has standard 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 Explorer offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The X5 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.

The X5’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the X5, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Explorer.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Explorer isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X5 second among midsize premium SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Explorer isn’t in the top three in its category.

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