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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Navigator 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 BMW X5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Navigator and the X5 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and driver alert monitors.
The Lincoln Navigator weighs 515 to 1042 pounds more than the BMW X5. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Navigator 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the X5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are over 2 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Navigator’s warranty.
The Navigator has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The X5 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 11th.
The Navigator’s 3.5 turbo V6 produces 115 more horsepower (450 vs. 335) and 180 lbs.-ft. more torque (510 vs. 330) than the X5 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The Navigator’s 3.5 turbo V6 produces 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (510 vs. 479) than the X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lincoln Navigator uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Navigator has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (23.2 vs. 21.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Navigator has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The X5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Navigator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X5.
For better traction, the Navigator has larger standard tires than the X5 (275/55R20 vs. 265/50R19). The Navigator Select/Reserve/Black Label’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X5 (285/45R22 vs. 275/40R21).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Navigator Base has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the X5.
The Lincoln Navigator’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The BMW X5 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.
The Navigator’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The X5 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Navigator’s wheelbase is 5.4 inches longer than on the X5 (122.5 inches vs. 117.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Navigator is 1.5 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.
For greater off-road capability the Navigator has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (9.6 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the Navigator to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Navigator uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Navigator offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the X5 can only carry up to 7.
The Navigator has 1 inch more front headroom, 4.1 inches more front legroom, 5.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 3.7 inches more rear legroom and 7 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.
The Navigator’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.
Third Seat Folded
57.5 cubic feet
Third Seat Removed
33.9 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
103.3 cubic feet
72.3 cubic feet
The Navigator’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.
Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X5 is limited to 7209 pounds. The Navigator offers up to a 8300 lbs. towing capacity.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 3% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X5, the Navigator offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, foot pedal distance, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Navigator’s exterior PIN entry system. The X5 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.
The Navigator is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The X5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Navigator as the 2018 North American Truck of the Year. The X5 has never been chosen.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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