2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 BMW X4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X4 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series 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 X4 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the RX Series and the X4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X4 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the X4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (295 vs. 248) and 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (268 vs. 258) than the X4 xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the X4 xDrive30i (31 city/28 hwy vs. 22 city/29 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The X4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The RX Series’ standard fuel tank has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the X4 (19.2 vs. 17.2 gallons).

Transmission

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The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The X4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the RX Series’ turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the X4’s (38.8 feet vs. 40 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X4 (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has .4 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the X4.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the RX Series’ rear seats recline. The X4’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The RX Series has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X4 with its rear seat folded (56.3 vs. 50.5 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The X4 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RX Series’ available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 34% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The RX Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The X4 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The RX Series offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X4 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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The RX Series is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The X4 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RX Series will cost $2645 less than the X4 over a five-year period.

The RX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RX Series will retain 46.6% to 51.56% of its original price after five years, while the X4 only retains 42.31% to 43.29%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RX Series will be $11388 to $15286 less than for the BMW X4.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the BMW X4 by over 19 to one during 2018.

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