2019 BMW X7 vs. 2019 Ford Flex

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Flex doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the middle seat shoulder belts of the BMW X7 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Ford Flex doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

The X7 has standard 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 Flex offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The X7 has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Flex doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X7. But it costs extra on the Flex.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the X7’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Flex doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The BMW X7 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 Flex doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The X7’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Flex doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The X7 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Flex only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The X7’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 Flex doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X7 and the Flex have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

The BMW X7 weighs 542 to 1178 pounds more than the Ford Flex. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The X7 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Flex’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Flex’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X7 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Flex.

Reliability

The battery on the X7 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the X7’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Flex’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The X7 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (335 vs. 287) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 254) than the Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The X7 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 91 more horsepower (456 vs. 365) and 129 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 350) than the Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X7 gets better fuel mileage than the Flex:

MPG

X7

AWD

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/25 hwy

xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

15 city/21 hwy

Flex

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/23 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the X7’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Flex doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X7’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 Flex doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The X7 has 3.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Flex (21.9 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW X7, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Flex.

The X7’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Flex doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Flex:

X7 xDrive40i

X7 xDrive50i

X7 M Sport

Flex

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

15.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

14.6 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X7 has larger standard tires than the Flex (285/45R21 vs. 235/60R18). The X7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Flex (F:275/40R22 & R:315/35R22 vs. 255/45R20).

The X7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Flex SEL’s standard 60 series tires. The X7’s optional 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Flex’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Flex SE. The X7’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Flex.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Flex doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the X7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Flex, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The X7 has a standard 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 Flex’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The X7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Flex doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X7’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the Flex (122.2 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X7 is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Flex.

Chassis

The front grille of the X7 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Flex doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The X7 has .1 inches more front headroom and 1.6 inches more front shoulder room than the Flex.

Cargo Capacity

The X7’s cargo area provides more volume than the Flex.

X7

Flex

Third Seat Folded

48.6 cubic feet

43.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.4 cubic feet

83.2 cubic feet

The X7’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Flex’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

The X7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Flex’s (7500 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the X7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Flex. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Flex (except SE), the X7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The X7’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Flex, and is not available on all models.

The X7 offers an optional heads-up display that 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 Flex doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X7’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 Flex’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The X7’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 Flex SE/SEL’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the X7 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flex doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the X7 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 Flex’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X7 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 Flex has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The X7 has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. The Flex doesn’t offer a third-row heated seat.

The X7 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 Flex SEL/Limited.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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