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The X4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Forester doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The X4 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.
The X4’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Forester doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the X4 and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The BMW X4 weighs 430 to 1001 pounds more than the Subaru Forester. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The X4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The X4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Forester’s (12 vs. 5 years).
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X4 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 1 place higher in reliability than Subaru.
The X4 xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 78 more horsepower (248 vs. 170) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 174) than the Forester 2.5i’s standard 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl. The X4 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 105 more horsepower (355 vs. 250) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (365 vs. 258) than the Forester 2.0XT’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X4’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 Forester doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The X4 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (17.2 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The BMW X4 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.
For better stopping power the X4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:
The X4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Forester 2.5i are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the X4 has larger standard tires than the Forester (245/50R19 vs. 225/60R17). The X4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (F:245/40R20 & R:275/40R20 vs. 225/60R17).
The X4’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 Forester 2.5i’s standard 60 series tires. The X4 M40i’s optional 245/40R21 front and 275/35R21 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X4 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester 2.5i. The X4 M40i’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X4 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Forester doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The X4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Forester’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The X4 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 Forester’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X4’s wheelbase is 8.9 inches longer than on the Forester (112.8 inches vs. 103.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the X4 is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 4.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Forester.
The X4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the Forester’s (57% to 43%). This gives the X4 more stable handling and braking.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 31% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.
The X4 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Forester doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The X4’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 Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Forester’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.
The X4’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 Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The X4 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 Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.
The X4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.
When the X4 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 Forester’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
Both the X4 and the Forester offer available heated front seats. The X4 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forester.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the X4 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The X4 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The X4 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 is only available on the Forester Touring.
Both the X4 and the Forester offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the X4 has available rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Forester doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The X4’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 Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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