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BMW X3 vs Subaru Forester XT vs Infiniti FX 35 vs Toyota RAV4

callmedrfillcallmedrfill Posts: 729
edited March 14 in BMW
They look the same (almost exactly the same), and are about the same size.

  Is BMW steppin' into someone else's yard here?

  With the Turbo engine, the Forester moves 0-60 in the mid 5's! And with a cushier ride (according to C&D) and lower price, is the Forester a better buy?

  Let's find out.

  DrFill
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Comments

  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    And the XT has a lot more reverse snob appeal.
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    8-10 grand is a lot of money, but hey, I'm game to compare, if for nothing else just to see what the 6-speed can do (and to get a moonroof and leather for crying out loud).

    By the way, Jack, is a 6-speed what you think Subaru needs to put into the XT?

    -Zman
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    With the BMW X3 about to hit the roads, seems like the right time to compare the two premium, "handling and performance" small SUVs with the XT thrown in. While the XT is not a "premium" vehicle, it provides a great performance bang for the buck, and might end up being the surprising dark horse choice for the value-minded consumer.
  • jjmanjjman Posts: 77
    I guess I am still iffy about the XT in this comparison because it seems to be more of a premium small SUV so its a little above its competition like the CRV or the rav4 but wayyy below the x3 and fx. Besides who cross shops bmw's and subarus? If I was looking for a fast suv sure I could look at the XT but more likely I would consider its cousin the WRX because the XT looks more like a wagon anyways.
    I guess I should be grateful you didn't include the mdx or rx because i consider those 2 more competitors to the x5.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,841
    The data people compare the X3 to the Infiniti FX35, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Land Rover Freelander. (link)

    But people in the discussions compare all sorts of stuff; some are tire kicking vans and SUVs (or coupes!) at the same time.

    We're open to suggestions; this is the only comparison topic featuring the X3....

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    XT is kind of tough for comparos b/c speed and performance wise it destroys the RAV4, CR-V and at least speedwise the X3. Snob appealwise, obviously it's no BMW, but that is a plus for some people, so I think it's a fair comparo.

    As for the XT looking more like a wagon, pardon me? Don't you think the X3 and the FX35 look more like raised elongated wagons than traditional SUVs?

    Anyway, to get back on topic, the FX blows the X3 away in terms of power and also has IMO more comfortable and higher quality leather seats.

    When I saw Infiniti's new cars, I thought they're getting close to BMW in their handling but they need to improve their interiors. Now that I've seen the interiors in the e60 5-series and the X3, I don't think Infiniti has to catch up anymore, I think BMW has stepped down to meet them.
  • jjmanjjman Posts: 77
    It seems like every Infiniti (and Nissans) have engines with high horsepower quoted and granted the fx35 specs do look overpowering at 280hp and 270lb/ft but for some reason all that power doesn't seem to go directly to the wheels.

    So far perfomance numberwise I have seen at best 7.6 0-60 numbers from the publications for the fx35.
    For the x3 Car and driver got 7.4 which looks decent until you consider the 3.0 engine only has 225 hp and 212 lb/ft in which case that is pretty good. Ok so they did have a manual version but then add .5 secs and you are still looking at good acceleration for a 2 ton vehicle that is behind 55hp and 58 lb/ft to the fx35
    I guess my point is the fx35 does not blow away the x3 for power. The fx35 is actually slow for its power numbers.
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    "Besides who cross shops bmw's and subarus?"

    I do. I am.

    In the areas that matter to me, function and performance, the XT and the X3 are worthy comparisons, each with apparent strengths and weakness (on paper). I'm a manual transmission guy, so the vast majority of the AWD SUVs, mini or otherwise, are out of the running, especially when I am seeking a vehicle with any level of high performance capability.

    FYI: Forester XT MT is in the mid 5 second range for 0-60.

    Zman
  • vsromanvsroman Posts: 95
    I want to buy but I can't decide! These are the items I have looked at with respect to the two vehicles.

    Fuel Eff - X3 3.0 auto 16/23 v. FX35 16/22
    (a draw)

    Cargo Room - X3 30/71 v. FX35 27.4/65
    (edge X3)

    HP - X3 225 v. FX35 280
    (edge FX)

    0-60 - X3 3.0 7.9 sec v. FX35 7.1 secs
    (edge FX)

    Sunroof - X3 pan roof v. FX35 norm sunrf
    (edge X3)

    Road Handling Index - X3 .88 v. FX35 .81
    (edge X3)

    Looks - X3 nice, likely to age well, FX - sleek, menacing head-turner, but maybe too trendy?
    (draw - I'd be happy driving both)

    Price - X3 3.0 43K v. FX35 37K
    Price is for sim eq, mostly loaded except nav and dvd. Also, assumption is X3 is selling for MSRP per my dealer, FX price is based on ads in local paper and the FX forum. Some on this forum have indicated up to 1500 off msrp for x3 so that may close the gap from 6k to 4.5k.
    (edge FX)

    Service - X3 free 3+ yrs - FX approx $750
    (edge X3)

    Warranty - x3 4yrs, 50K v. FX 4yrs, 60K miles (Edge FX - this for me equates to a full 4 years as I drive 15K per year)

    Safety - both sb good/excellent
    (draw)

    My questions to the forum:

    Am I missing any other important criteria?

    Should I rule out the X3 2.5? This would close the price gap but one of my favorite things on the road is the ability to quickly leave a situation, the 65 - 85 acceleration factor. X3 2.5 states 0-60 in 9.3 :<

    Are there any former BMW drivers now driving the FX35? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    I'm currently driving a 99 528i w/sport pkg.

    Next steps - On vacation next week in Fl. and I have reserved an FX for 3 days. Think I'll drive it over to a BMW dealer and do a side-by-side comparo! Also, would love to test the X3 in a warm climate with the pan sunrf wide open. :)

    Thanks for your posts!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Not sure why I didn't see this until today; you posted it on the 18th. Anyway,

    is a 6-speed what you think Subaru needs to put into the XT?

    There are 2 possible solutions, 1 easy, 1 expensive and unlikely.

    The easy, inexpensive one would be to put the WRX 3.9 final drives into the XT, leaving everything else the same. The 5-speed's 1st gear is low enough to handle this, and each of the other gears would definitely benefit from the taller ratio.

    The expensive, unlikely solution would be to put the STi 6-speed into the XT - but it would do no good unless the entire ratio set was revised. The STi 6-speed has fairly close ratios, good for track work. The XT needs a low 1st (for off-road) and a tall 6th (for decent MPG and lower-RPM highway cruising). In other words, the XT needs wider, more-spread ratios than what the STi gets. I don't think it's likely that Subaru will invest in a different 6-speed gearset just for the XT.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,675
    If the Legacy GT gets a 6-speed down the road (which is rumored), it could well make it's way into the FXT too. The more models Subaru can offer it in, the lower the unit cost per item.

    I'm not sure it will be a "true" wide-ratio unit, but perhaps the gear ratios might be a tad wider than what's found on the STi.

    Bob
  • lbhaleylbhaley Posts: 91
    I would have crossed shopped the two if the X-3 had been available when I bought the XT. Having read the X-3 tests I know I would still have bought the XT. I just can't resist that power! I had excellent luck with my 98 Forester S, so I was leaning towards buying another Subaru anyway.
    All that money I saved is certainly nice too. I have owned five different BMWs at various times. I love the way they drive but they have nothing on Subaru when it comes to reliability, functionality, and now with the XT, performance.

    -les
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    The current STi 6-speed ratios might be fine for the Legacy GT, aimed more at sporty on-road driving than at the Forester's mix of on- and off-road utility. It's the latter usage that would really need a low 1st and high 6th.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    The BMW's lifetime cost for service and repair work is likely to be several times greater than for the XT.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,675
    With all the power the XT has, I don't think a deep low first gear is necessary. I see your point though. Maybe this could be addressed with the 6-speed XT having a slightly lower final drive (4.11?) than a Legacy GT (3.90?). I know this goes counter to your wish for a 3.90 final drive, but with a 6-speed, and revised internal gear ratios, a 3.90 may not be necessary for the Forester, given its mission in life. I would think you would still get more relaxed cruising, better gas mileage, and a better selection of gear ratios.

    Bob
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I didn't mean to suggest that a 6-speed XT would need a lower 1st than is already on the 5-speed (although some might want that for boat towing or rock hopping). What I meant is that a 6-speed in an XT would probably want the overall ratio in 1st to be about where the current one already is, whereas 6th would want to be substantially taller than 5th is now. Maybe as much as 30% taller. That would require a wider-spaced gearset than what's in the STi, but the latter's current closer-ratio set might be OK in the Legacy GT as is.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,675
    The rumor I've heard is that there is another 6-speed under development for the Legacy. Reportedly this is not a variation of the STi unit, but a new tranny altogether. Reportedly it is lighter and less costly than the STi unit.

    Seems rather silly to me. I would think it would be more cost-effective to offer a STi 6-speed variant for any other Subie applications.

    Who knows, maybe this rumor is false. It wouldn't surprise me.

    Bob
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I don't think Subaru makes the practically unbreakable STi 6-speed box. IIRC, it is a very expensive outsourced item, perhaps putting it beyond reach of typical Legacy buyers. If so, the same would be true of the XT. A less-expensive in-house box might be better.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    "Besides who cross shops bmw's and subarus?"

    Maybe nobody cross shops BMW and Subaru in the galaxy you live in, but they do in the galaxy I live in.

    See what I mean about Subaru people being knowledgeable and passionate about their brand? IMO, it's always a good idea to get them in on a discussion.
  • vsromanvsroman Posts: 95
    not how to build a better suburu. Shoot, now we are comparing the Legacy. Why not add the tauras wagon?
  • clpurnellclpurnell Posts: 1,087
    First of all I own an FX so I am obviously biased and I have not driven an Xt but may do so this weekend just to comapre them. To me the FX is the clear cut winner and here is why.

    The XT is faster but lets compare apples to apples and autos to autos. I have not seen any auto times for the Xt faster than 6.9 secs. The fastest FX times is 7.1 and the X3 3.0 is ~7.9 (stick was 7.4). Both the XT and FX will show the X3 auto it's taillights. They both also have way more torque than the BMW so more usable power. I mark this a tie between the XT and FX.

    The handling is where the BMW and FX shines. Both equipped with sport packages are .88 g for the X3 and .87 for the FX. The base FX does .81 but since we don't have base skid numbers for the base X3 lets compare apples to apples again. The XT is High .7's here it brings up the rear where the FX and X3 tie.

    Stopping. The FX beats em all here with the X3 and subie bringing up the rear. edge FX

    Space. The subie and BMW about tie for cargo space but having been in all three (forester S) the fx I think ties the X3 for passenger comfort. But I will give the X3 and XT the slight edge here

    Features. The FX blows em away with available DVD nav and ent, laser cruise, 6disc in dash changer, rear view camera standard xenons etc etc. Edge FX

    Interior. I give the FX the nod with the subie second and the X3 bringing up the rear. It is about even with the subes for interior quality but costing 15k more that is not saying a whole lot. Edge FX

    Exterior. I love the look of the FX. It is definately the head turner of the bunch the bmw is second and the subie can not be told from the avg subie grocery getter. Edge FX

    Reliability. Probably a tie between FX and XT

    Status. This is the only clear cut win for the X3. The infiniti brings in 2nd and the subie as some said may not even be cross shopped by the status conscience buyer

    Price. The subie trounces em all on bang for the buck no doubt. The FX comes in nicely equipped about 6k less than the X3. The X3 is just plainly over priced.
     Edge Subie.

    From this comparison I would rank them FX, X3, XT. What costs the subie in my book is handling, looks and prestige. The X3 loses on price, power, reliability. The FX gives you the best of em all.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,675
    Maybe it's just me, but buying a vehicle to impress people is at the bottom of my list of reasons to purchase a vehicle.

    Bob
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I'd go farther than Bob and say that if others are buying a particular car for its prestige or 'class' factor, that's all the reason I'd need to scratch that one off my list and buy something else.
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    Unfortunately, as fine a vehicle as it might be, the FX does not come in a manual transmission. IMHO, it therefore cannot even compete properly in a performance comparison.

    That said, it sounds like the XT has it all over the X3 (on paper--I have not driven either).

    Zman
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I have a BMW and Subaru. For some strange reason I'm suddenly having an identity crisis. Man this place got hot fast. Love it!

    ;-)
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    Designman,

    These Subie boards are burning; it appears that Subaru owners (and potential owners) are nothing if not passionate.

    Zman
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,675
    but not necessarily prestige-oriented; unlike BMW, Infiniti, et al. As Subaru moves up-market their audience may change. I hope not.

    That's not to say Subie owners are not image-oriented, but prestige is not the image most Subie owners aspire to.

    Bob
  • vsromanvsroman Posts: 95
    as aptly stated by clpurnell..."the subie can not be told from the avg subie grocery getter."

    If I were Suburu, I'd figure out a way to get that hot rod engine into a more upscale, aggressive looking crossover vehicle...and fast!

    Then it would be ripe for comparison.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,675
    be patient...

    The all-new turbo Legacy and Outbacks will be arriving this spring. After that, the all-new 7-passenger crossover will arrive. That model will debut Subaru's new styling direction, which will be adopted by all Subies eventually.

    Subaru is moving upscale, and they know that better styling has to be part of the equation.

    Bob
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    "If I were Suburu, I'd figure out a way to get that hot rod engine into a more upscale, aggressive looking crossover vehicle...and fast!

    Then it would be ripe for comparison."

    Ripe for comparison to what?

    Zman
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