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

callmedrfillcallmedrfill Member Posts: 729
edited March 2014 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.



  • ballisticballistic Member Posts: 1,687
    And the XT has a lot more reverse snob appeal.
  • zmanzman Member 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?

  • saugataksaugatak Member 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 Member 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 Guest Posts: 52,454
    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
  • saugataksaugatak Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.

  • vsromanvsroman Member 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

    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 19,788
    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.

  • lbhaleylbhaley Member 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.

  • ballisticballistic Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 19,788
    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.

  • ballisticballistic Member 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 Member Posts: 19,788
    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.

  • ballisticballistic Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 95
    not how to build a better suburu. Shoot, now we are comparing the Legacy. Why not add the tauras wagon?
  • clpurnellclpurnell Member Posts: 1,083
    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 Member Posts: 19,788
    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.

  • ballisticballistic Member 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 Member 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).

  • designmandesignman Member 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 Member Posts: 200

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

  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    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.

  • vsromanvsroman Member 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 Member Posts: 19,788
    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.

  • zmanzman Member 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?

  • designmandesignman Member Posts: 2,129
    If Subaru can compete with BMW and charge a lot less, this is where it's at. If the XT is as good as the X3 and people are convinced, the word will get out and many will benefit. Forget about status, make the right decision for yourselves and be secure about it, whatever that may be.
  • akasrpakasrp Member Posts: 170
    nasty rear blind spot in Murano/FX35.
  • clpurnellclpurnell Member Posts: 1,083
    I think the XT is an excellent package and if the FX didn't exist and I had to chose between the X3 and XT I would choose the XT.

    I bought the FX for it's performance, handling, features, expected reliability and dealer treatment. Let me know when subie starts offering DVD NAv and entertainment, ICC, VDC, EBD, BA, Preview Braking, 20" wheels, Style, Brick/cinamon like leather seat, Rear view camera, keyless go etc etc. Yeah I spent about 10k more than the XT but I think that bought me a lot of technology. (I am a techno geek)

    Plus free infiniti loaners for all warranty work and service. On one of my previous vehicle I spent over 700/yr for rental cars and the like while it was either in for service or repair.

    The X3 even though it is a brand new model didn't bring the technology or performance to the game so to me it is an also ran.
  • clpurnellclpurnell Member Posts: 1,083
    that's why I have a rear view camera :)
  • akasrpakasrp Member Posts: 170
    that the Murano/FX35 is one sweet ride. If Nissan dealers here were as deal oriented (they all seemed stuck on MSRP) as the Subaru dealers, I'd have been hard pressed not to go Murano. No remorse mind you, but can see how one could love the M/FX. Adjustable pedals alone won me over (I'm 6', wife is 5'2). Nissan/Infinity inarguably rides the form/function wave better than the rest.
  • jjmanjjman Member Posts: 77
    Of course anyone can cross shop any one brand with another. Its a free country!
    But realisticly most people who consider a bmw would be thinking of luxury and prestige (look at the success of the x5). To get utility and some great unique features is what is turning me on to the x3 or else i would just buy a 330xi and not look back.
    Also for me the prestige of owning a BMW isn't the same as owning a Lexus or Mercedes. The BMW logo has always been a symbol of great handling, great engines and the pure driving experience. Nobody and I mean Nobody! has been able to duplicate the feel that you get at the steering wheel of a bmw. Sorry if I am being passionate here but to me the x3 is worth its price just for its pure abilities alone.
  • ballisticballistic Member Posts: 1,687
    the subie can not be told from the avg subie grocery getter

    Assuming this was about the Forester XT turbo, and about how it is nearly indistinguishable from its 'normal' Forester brethren, that is exactly what attracts many of its owners to it. We're not flash-and-glitz people. We like subtle. We like stealth. We don't like sky-high insurance premiums or extra scrutiny from da fuzz.
  • ballisticballistic Member Posts: 1,687
    I bought the FX for it's performance, handling, features, expected reliability and dealer treatment.

    I bought the XT for its performance, handling, features, expected reliability, dealer treatment, and $15,000 lower price tag.

    Let me know when subie starts offering DVD NAv and entertainment, ICC, VDC, EBD, BA, Preview Braking, 20" wheels, Style, Brick/cinamon like leather seat, Rear view camera, keyless go etc etc.(I am a techno geek)

    I wouldn't have bought the Forester XT if it had about 90% of those unnecessary items. The XT is for the KISS (keep it simple, etc) folks. I'm a techno geek, too - but not when it comes to overly complex cars.
  • akasrpakasrp Member Posts: 170
    that is exactly what attracts

  • jjmanjjman Member Posts: 77
    But if I wanted to cross shop the XT with another brand I would do so with Honda or toyota. I can't really see the Subaru brand being upscale just like Volkswagon is trying to be. In the end I think that will be the downfall for VW because despite the Phaeton being a good car in the real world nobody's looking for the vw logo on their luxury car not with so many other choices out there. Subaru should learn from that and either create a new brand or just stay out.
  • vsromanvsroman Member Posts: 95
    for comparison to the FX and X3. As it stands now, it's not in the same class. The FX and X3 are examples of "fine" rolling stock, the Forester is something that civic and corolla owners yearn for...yes I know it is fast but that doesn't make it "fine."
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    the XT lacks snob appeal, which is fine by me.

  • p0926p0926 Member Posts: 4,423
    The X and XS are more likely to be cross-shopped with the CR-V and RAV4 as they are comparable both in price and performance. While the XT is only a couple of thousand more, it's light years away in the performance dept. In fact there's nothing in the mini-SUV category that's even within 2 seconds 0-60 with most being 3 secs slower. Heck C&D clocked a manual XT at 5.3; which is only .3 slower than the $90k Porsche Cayenne Turbo! Having said that, there's no way the XT is going to compete in the prestige dept with the X-3 or FX so if someone wants to make a status statement with their vehicle, then the XT is out.

    Honestly, the XT really has no direct competition but for shoppers looking for a vehicle that can haul both a fair amount of cargo and [non-permissible content removed], the XT rates right up there with the FX and X-3.

    -Frank P.
  • akasrpakasrp Member Posts: 170
    an MD pal was checking out my new XT - he expressed disappointment that it has power &#145;everything&#146;. He just last week bought a strippy Saturn Vue with &#145;crank&#146; windows. "Did you have to buy it so loaded?"

    Not everybody has to wear the badge...
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454

    Anyone remember the thread somewhere around here about upscale cars? - some opined that Volvos were like VW's. Not upscale.

    So I asked my wife if she thought Volvos were upscale or luxury cars and she said yeah.

    I didn't bring up Saab.

    I have this own scale in my head:

    VW --> Audi --> Porsche
    Chevy --> Buick --> Caddy
    Nissan --> Infiniti
    Toyota --> Lexus
    Honda --> Acura (keep forgetting this tie-in)
    Ford --> Jag (ok, had to stretch to remember that connection)

    So continuing this ramble, BMW, MB, Infiniti, Lexus are top tier in the status ranking; Dodge, Ford, Mazda are second tier; the Kia and Hyundai are working their way into the middle class.

    Subaru --> practically a niche tier, rather like Jeeps (esp. Wranglers). In my scale, the Subaru in this discussion comparison seems a bit out of place. But that's just me, and I haven't driven any of them. :-)

    People certainly cross-shop tiers around here; depreciation may make you want to jump up a tier if you trade often too:

    A Mercedes at a Chevy price (MSN Money)

    Steve, Host
  • mark_lpmark_lp Member Posts: 28
    I recently drove the FX, Murano, and X3. I bought X3. Here were my deciding issues. I live in the Midwest with lots of snow and cold. I am on construction sites during the winter in the cold for hours at a time. I haul many medium to large items around. And I also enjoy driving.

    FX35 loaded except dvd/nav system about 40k out the door
    - too hard of a ride
    - dealer stuck to sticker
    + nav system (if you need it)
    + loaner for service
    + long-term reliability
    - must pay for service on car during warranty
    - not alot of storage space
    - no heated steering wheel
    - bad blind spot
    - average motorized lumbar support
    - average interior layout

    Murano SE awd except technology about 36K out the door
    + great interior ergonomics
    + nice softer but controlled ride
    - no heated steering wheel
    - seat heater only does butt area and not back
    + good storage
    + same great nav as FX
    - can't aim air blowers at hands to warm
    - poor blind spot but better than FX
    - no loaner during service
    - maintanence not paid for during warranty
    + 10k longer warranty than BMW
    - average manual lumbar support
    - many rattle complaints
    - potential long-term problems with belt driven CVT
    + good interior rear storage
    + dealer very willing to move on price
    - regular oil

    X3 3.0 loaded except nav,pdc,power mirrors,psound 44k out the door
    + heated steering wheel
    + Xdrive
    + Xenon w/ adaptive light control
    + best overall driving experience
    + panoramic roof
    - poor interior layout compared to murano
    + good rear storage
    + 4 way elect. lumbar control
    - highest price
    + valet service to home/office w/ loaner
    + all maintenance paid for during warranty
    - costliest vehicle to maintain long-term
    + synthetic oil
    + hot/cold adjustment on face air vents
    + no blind spot

    I'm sure I missed many other things but I'm sure others will chime in. I hope this helps others looking at these vehicles.
  • vsromanvsroman Member Posts: 95
    if your Infiniti dealer was offering the loaded FX35 (w/o DVD or Nav) for 37 instead of 40, how would that have impacted your decision?
  • zmanzman Member Posts: 200
    I concede the point: in comparison to the Subaru, the Infiniti and the BMW may well be "fine[r]" cars (as defined by whom, however, I should be so bold to ask). Case in point: my boss once suggested my career would most likely advance with greater celerity if I purchased a BMW--I'm not kidding; he really said that. I guess that's why he's my boss. His boss drives a VW. Go figure.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Bosses like you to buy fancy homes too. That way you get trapped into big monthly payments and can't afford to walk off the job.

    Time for a little Janis Joplin (and I don't mean the Mercedes tune either <g>).

    Steve, Host
  • ulepulep Member Posts: 63
    I like subaru but i dont think it's rigth to compare it w/ the fx and x3. the forester in my opinion is in another playing field. I think it's better to compare it with mitsubishi and toyota. yes, it gives the most bang for the buck but so does mitsu and toyota..
This discussion has been closed.