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2020 ST vs. 2021 BMW X5 4.0

Messages
9
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11
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
#1
I purchased my ST in April of 2020 and I bought my wife a 2021 BMW X5 4.0 xDrive M-Sport in October. In a different thread, someone asked me to give my opinion on the comparison of them so here goes......

First, I'm in love with my ST and I think it's the perfect vehicle for me. The BMW brings to the table some things I like more and some things I don't care for. At the end of the day, I wouldn't let my wife trade vehicles with me :)

Let's start with some stats so we know how they compare side by side.

ST has 400HP BMW has 335HP - both are turbo V6s
ST has 10sp gearbox BMW has 8sp
ST has 3rd row BMW doesn't (but I have captains chairs so it's 6 people for ST and 5 for BMW)
ST had $60K MSRP and BMW had $74K
ST was $60K and BMW was $64,500
I don't have a hitch on the BMW but for some reason, it can tow 1,000 more lbs.
BMW definitely gets better MPG
Both have lights that shine down when the doors are open which I LOVE!

The list of features is similar in terms of sensors, parking assistance, lane avoidance, hotspot, adaptive cruise control, and all the other stuff. ST seats are cooled and massage but the BMW has heads up display and gesture control (which is pretty cool........look it up).

I used the ST to tow some motorcycles to the Smoky Mountains this past summer and had a chance to unhook the trailer and give it some hell on the twisties. This.Thing.Performs. Three of us drove it through some amazing roads and were ON it and ON the brakes too. All 4 tires singing and it begged for more. It was pretty new to me (4K miles) and literally brand new to the other two drivers who hadn't even seen it before then. It was very easy to drive aggressively.

The BMW is only 2.5 months old and just out of the break in period so I haven't had a chance to give it hell on a twisty road........yet; but that time is coming before long.

So, now for the comparison in bulleted fashion for easy reading:

- I'm pretty sure the ST would beat the BMW in a drag race but I don't think it would kill it. I'll find a friend to test this theory
- Handling could be close. BMW knows how to make a car that handles and what few twisties I've had it on, it feels impressive
- The BMW has an impressive exhaust note on cold start but gets a bit more tame after it's warmed up. We all know the ST sounds like a sewing machine from the outside but a race car from the inside
- It terms of fit and finish, the BMW excels here. The quality of the leather and all the knobs and buttons are just better than the ST hands down.
- I personally like the rawness of the ST in terms of how it drives/rides. I'm OK feeling the bumps because the suspension is meant for sporty driving more than riding on a pillow. That being said, I think the edge here goes to BMW. It drives REALLY nice and I think it will handle turns close to what the ST can.
- Transmission/shifting go to BMW hands down. Whether it's warm or cold, that damn thing shifts like "butta" EVERY TIME. My ST shifts like shit when it's cold and even though it's much better when warm, it's nowhere near as smooth as the BMW.

At the end of the day, the ST is a better vehicle for me without question.

cars1.1.jpg cars2.jpg
 
Messages
259
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117
Location
Vancouver, WA, USA
#2
Nice write up. My wife and I are in a similar situation but we got her a 2020 BMW X4 M40i last year. It’s got the bi-turbo 6 with 382 HP. I think it’s faster than my ST and everything is more refined from fit and finish to the way the knobs click and turn. She’s had many MB’s and a couple Lexus’ and she says her Bimmer is her most favorite car yet. I’ve had 3 Vette’s (one of those a Z06 with the LS7) and one MB SL550. I actually like my ST as much as my other cars but it’s totally different; I don’t feel I have to drive that car fast all the time like the Vette’s. The SL was another story...wasn’t me. Never bonded with that car. Now I’m searching for the perfect ‘68 big block Camaro and have been for three years. I hope it comes soon!
 
Messages
9
Reactions
11
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
#3
Nice write up. My wife and I are in a similar situation but we got her a 2020 BMW X4 M40i last year. It’s got the bi-turbo 6 with 382 HP. I think it’s faster than my ST and everything is more refined from fit and finish to the way the knobs click and turn. She’s had many MB’s and a couple Lexus’ and she says her Bimmer is her most favorite car yet. I’ve had 3 Vette’s (one of those a Z06 with the LS7) and one MB SL550. I actually like my ST as much as my other cars but it’s totally different; I don’t feel I have to drive that car fast all the time like the Vette’s. The SL was another story...wasn’t me. Never bonded with that car. Now I’m searching for the perfect ‘68 big block Camaro and have been for three years. I hope it comes soon!
What didn't you like about the SL? I watch all of the Mecum auctions and SL's that are 10-15 years old in the sub-30K mile range go for CHEAP. I've often considered getting one as a toy or to resell, although a 650 would fit my needs better with a "back seat."
 

STFan

Administrator
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234
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76
#4
Great write-up and thanks for sharing this. I really think BMW did a great job with the design of the current X5.
 
Messages
247
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102
Location
Ohio
#5
ST stock is not that fast. X5 40i is almost certainly faster. BMW is notorious for underrating engine power. That said, X5 is a smaller vehicle and you'd expect it would be easier to make it handle better and go faster.
 
Messages
9
Reactions
11
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
#7
ST stock is not that fast. X5 40i is almost certainly faster. BMW is notorious for underrating engine power. That said, X5 is a smaller vehicle and you'd expect it would be easier to make it handle better and go faster.
The X5 is 4.5" shorter but weighs 160# more. I think it'll be a good race and I'll happily report back with the results. I just need my wife to go out with friends one night......... :)
 
Messages
259
Reactions
117
Location
Vancouver, WA, USA
#8
What didn't you like about the SL? I watch all of the Mecum auctions and SL's that are 10-15 years old in the sub-30K mile range go for CHEAP. I've often considered getting one as a toy or to resell, although a 650 would fit my needs better with a "back seat."
Don’t get me wrong, i did think it was a nice car. A boss of mine years and years ago had a 450SL and I told myself that one day I’d have one of those. I never got that out of my head and ended up buying a new one in 2012. I’m an American muscle car guy and I just felt awkward in that thing. They do drive nice but feel really heavy.
 
Messages
80
Reactions
40
Location
Sterling, VA, USA
#9
Good write up, thanks!
Many of the STs on this thread will outrun the X5 > Post your Dragy times. | Explorer ST Forum . Stock, it will be very close, X5 may Edge (pun intended) out a little faster... So basically for ~$15k more you can get the X5. Not an unreasonable premium if you want to go there (considering ~50k for ST out the door, and the ~65k out the door price for the X5 per mentioned above, can you really get the X5 for $10k off MSRP??).
 

Jarvis

New Member
Messages
14
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4
Location
Mount Pleasant, NY, USA
#10
Revealing analysis, kneedragger! From a driving dynamics standpoint, I also prefer the ST over the BMWs. Prior to my purchase, I checked out the X5 and X7. As long as the roads are smooth, the ST in ECO mode has comparable ride quality. Driving alone, the ST is a more entertaining drive, but with passengers, the BMWs get the nod. Still, the ST has more room in any of the rows, despite having thick boxy seats.
 
Messages
9
Reactions
11
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
#12
Yeah, it was $10K off MSRP and I think there may have been a bit more flex if I wanted to spend more time playing hardball but I felt this was a very fair deal and both the salesman and sales manager were great. Candidly, we were originally considering a standard X5 which we drove and liked and when we started working on the numbers, we had to ask about the M-Sport which looked way better IMO and also was the exact color my wife always wanted.........the numbers made it hard to say no. The dealer was Plaza BMW in St. Louis, MO
 


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