Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW X3 VS 2016 Jeep Wrangler Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW X3

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2016 Jeep Wrangler

Safety Comparison

The X3 has standard head airbag curtains for front and rear seats which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. Head airbags cost extra in the Wrangler and are only available for the front seats.

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 Wrangler 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 Wrangler doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the X3. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the Wrangler.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the X3 xDrive’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Wrangler doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The BMW X3 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 Wrangler doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The X3’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The X3 offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The X3 also offers an optional backup monitor to help drivers see any and all obstacles behind their vehicle, and an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle. The Wrangler doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

The X3’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 Wrangler doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the X3 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 Wrangler uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The X3 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 Wrangler 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 X3 and the Wrangler have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

In a 31 MPH side-impact test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashes a 3300 pound sled into the side of new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Wrangler Unlimited without its optional side airbags:



Overall Evaluation







Head Protection Rating



Head Injury Rating



Torso Injury Rating



Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating



Head Injury Criterion



Shoulder Movement

-37 mm

41 mm

Rear Passenger

Head Protection Rating



Head Injury Rating



Torso Injury Rating



Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating



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 X3 with leather seats is safer then the Wrangler:



Overall Evaluation



Head Restraint Design



Distance from Back of Head

40 mm

46 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

34 mm

66 mm

Dynamic Test Rating



Seat Design



Neck Force Rating



Max Neck Shearing Force



Max Neck Tension



(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the X3 is 2.1% to 10.1% less likely to roll over than the Wrangler.

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 Wrangler’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Wrangler’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Jeep doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Wrangler.

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 Wrangler’s 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the BMW X3 xDrive35i’s reliability will be 74% better than the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the BMW X3 xDrive28i is 80% better than the Jeep Wrangler 2dr.

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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 29th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

Engine Comparison

The X3 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (300 vs. 285) and 40 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 260) than the Wrangler’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 260) than the Wrangler’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 s/xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Jeep Wrangler (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.3 MPH

90.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X3 xDrive28d gets better fuel mileage than the Wrangler Auto (27 city/34 hwy vs. 17 city/20 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the X3 s/xDrive28i xDrive gets better fuel mileage than the Wrangler Unlimited Auto (21 city/28 hwy vs. 17 city/20 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Wrangler 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 Wrangler 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 Wrangler:



Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.9 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.9 inches

The X3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Wrangler are solid, not vented.

The X3 stops much shorter than the Wrangler:



60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

150 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X3 has larger standard tires than the Wrangler (245/50R18 vs. 225/75R16).

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 Wrangler Sport’s standard 75 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 Wrangler Sahara’s 70 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Wrangler Sport. The X3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Wrangler Sahara.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The BMW X3’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Jeep Wrangler’s solid front axle, which allows the X3’s wheels to react more quickly and accurately to the road’s surface, improving both ride and handling.

For superior ride and handling, the BMW X3 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 Jeep Wrangler has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

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 Wrangler’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For much better steering response and tighter handling the X3 has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the Wrangler.

The X3 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Wrangler doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X3 is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Wrangler.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive handles at .82 G’s, while the Wrangler Sahara Unlimited pulls only .67 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.3 seconds quicker than the Wrangler Sahara Unlimited (26.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 30.2 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

Unibody construction makes the X3’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 Wrangler doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

For excellent aerodynamics, the X3 has standard flush composite headlights. The Wrangler has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X3 easier. The X3’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.8 inches, while the Wrangler Unlimited’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

The X3’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Wrangler 2dr’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

The X3’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Wrangler’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the X3 has a standard power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the X3 has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the X3, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a memory system.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X3’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows cost extra on the Wrangler.

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 Wrangler’s optional power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.

The X3’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Wrangler’s optional power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

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 Wrangler can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The X3’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks cost extra on the Wrangler.

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 Jeep Wrangler doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

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 Wrangler’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 Wrangler doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the X3 has a standard rear wiper. A rear wiper costs extra on the Wrangler.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The X3 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 Wrangler has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Sahara/Rubicon.

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 Wrangler 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 Wrangler doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The X3 has standard power remote mirrors. The Wrangler only comes with remote mirrors at extra cost. Without them the driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.

The X3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Jeep charges extra for heated mirrors on the Wrangler.

The X3’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Wrangler’s optional power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the X3 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 Wrangler’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Wrangler offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the X3 and the Wrangler 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 Wrangler.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The X3 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the X3 has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Wrangler doesn’t offer rear vents.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional BMW Apps for the X3 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 connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Wrangler doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the X3, 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 Wrangler.

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 Wrangler doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The headlight lenses on the X3 are made of plastic to be lighter, more resistant to damage and less expensive to replace than the glass headlight lenses on the Wrangler.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Jeep Wrangler isn't recommended.

Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. With a Total Quality Index of 889, Strategic Vision rated the BMW X3 20 points higher than the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for 2015. With a Total Quality Index of 889, the X3 is rated 33 points higher than the Wrangler 2dr.

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