Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW X3 VS 2016 GMC Terrain Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW X3

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2016 GMC Terrain

Safety Comparison

The X3 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 Terrain doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The X3 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 Terrain offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The X3 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Terrain 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 X3 and the Terrain have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the GMC Terrain:




5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

281 lbs.

294 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

74 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

309/613 lbs.

593/626 lbs.



4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

134 lbs.

195 lbs.

Neck Compression

95 lbs.

209 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

534/168 lbs.

520/267 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the GMC Terrain:



Front Seat


5 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.4 inches

Hip Force

222 lbs.

547 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

48 G’s

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

63 G’s

Hip Force

355 lbs.

684 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The X3 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Terrain’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Terrain’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than GMC pays for maintenance for the Terrain (4/50,000 vs. 2/24,000).

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the X3 has a standard 210-amp alternator (180-amp - X3 diesel). The Terrain’s standard 120-amp alternator and largest (V6) 155-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The X3 s/xDrive28i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 58 more horsepower (240 vs. 182) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 172) than the Terrain’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The X3 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 272) than the Terrain’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 108 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 172) than the Terrain’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 272) than the Terrain’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 s/xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the GMC Terrain 4 cyl.:



Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.3 MPH

82.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X3 xDrive28d gets better fuel mileage than the Terrain 4WD (27 city/34 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the X3 gets better fuel mileage than the Terrain:




4 cyl./Auto

21 city/28 hwy

17 city/24 hwy



4 cyl./Auto

21 city/28 hwy

16 city/23 hwy


Regenerative brakes improve the X3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Terrain doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X3’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 Terrain doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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



Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.9 inches

The X3 stops much shorter than the Terrain:



60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X3 has larger standard tires than the Terrain (245/50R18 vs. 225/65R17). The X3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Terrain (F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19 vs. 235/55R18).

The X3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Terrain’s standard 65 series tires. The X3’s optional 245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Terrain’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Terrain. The X3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Terrain.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Terrain doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The X3 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The X3 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 Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X3 is .7 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Terrain.

The X3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the Terrain’s (56% to 44%). This gives the X3 more stable handling and braking.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive handles at .82 G’s, while the Terrain SLE pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Terrain SLE (26.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 29 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the X3’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Terrain’s (39 feet vs. 40 feet). The X3’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Terrain w/19" wheels’ (39 feet vs. 42.6 feet).

Passenger Space Comparison

The X3 has .9 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the X3. The Terrain doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the X3’s available cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Terrain doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The X3 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Terrain doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

If the windows are left down on the X3 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 Terrain can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Comfort Access optional on the X3 allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The GMC Terrain doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The X3 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 Terrain doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The X3’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 Terrain’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the X3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Terrain doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The X3 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Terrain doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X3 offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Terrain doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The X3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. GMC only offers heated mirrors on the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali.

The X3 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 Terrain has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the X3 and the Terrain offer available heated front seats. The X3 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Terrain.

On extremely cold Winter days, the X3’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Terrain doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The X3’s optional 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. The Terrain doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The X3’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Terrain SL doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Both the X3 and the Terrain offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the X3 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Terrain doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the X3’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Terrain doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the X3 offers an optional Active 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 Terrain doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The X3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Terrain doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The X3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the X3 will retain a greater percentage of its original price after three and five years than the Terrain.



Five Year

36% to 38%

32% to 34%

Three Year

54% to 58%

44% to 50%

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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