- BMW X3: Revamped in 2018, it’s continually updated to keep abreast of the competition.
- Lexus NX: Reliability meets high resale value in one space-aged looking package.
2021 BMW X3
2021 BMW X3 starting price: $43,995 / Read our 2021 BMW X3 Review
What we like: Strong and efficient engines; generous standard equipment; plenty of passenger and cargo space; engaging enthusiast M40i model
What we would change: Lower BMW’s proud price points; improve M40i ride quality over poor pavement
Overview: The BMW X3 is the best-selling BMW, period. It ranks among a smart class of SUVs that include models from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus and Acura. Solid technology and sales numbers help to keep it a class-leader.
Refreshed in 2018, the X3 is continually improved for freshness. A plug-in hybrid and high-performance X3 M joined its ranks last year. What separates the X3 from its competition is the sports sedan handling of a BMW 3 Series with the practicality of an SUV.
What’s new for 2021: Android Auto is now part of the BMW X3’s technology mix, and the 2021 X3 also gets a one-year subscription to Sirius XM satellite radio. Now standard on xDrive30e (AWD) and M40i models is Live Cockpit Pro which bundles the digital instrument cluster with a larger touchscreen. The Active Driving Assist package is now standard. The trailer hitch prep option is no more, but a trailer hitch is still available.
Features and technology: Start with a base 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. BMW X3 models with sDrive in their name are rear-wheel-drive, while xDrive signifies AWD. There is an uprated BMW X3 M40i with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6 engine producing 355 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels.
For those who are trying to gain green cred, the xDrive30e is the first plug-in hybrid version of the X3. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with an electric motor-generator and lithium-ion battery combo, it can travel up to 18 miles on pure electric before the gas engine kicks in.
Finally, supreme power users can make use of the high-performance X3 M. A twin-turbo inline-6 cylinder engine, it makes 473 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Need more? Order the competition package, which boosts the output an additional 30 horses for a total of 503 hp.
All models use an 8-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Premium and Executive packages are available and include such niceties as a panoramic sunroof, heads-up display, Live Cockpit Pro with 10.25-inch display, a 360-degree Parking Assistance package and more.
What does the future hold: All-electric iX3 model will soon begin production. According to some BMW rumor sources, expect a refreshed (conventional) X3 with new grille to reveal itself sometime in 2021 as a 2022 model. Find a 2021 BMW X3 for sale near you
2021 Lexus NX
2021 Lexus NX starting price: $39,225 / Read our 2021 Lexus NX Review
What we like: Luxury, safety and reliability in one good-looking package; excellent dealer experience; great resale value; NX 300 F-Sport and NX 300h hybrid also available. AWD is optional
What we would change: Improve driving experience to match European competitors
Overview: Good looking with a sense of purpose, the 2021 Lexus NX luxury compact crossover SUV features the latest design language from Toyota’s luxury division. The NX is delivered with a long list of standard features, competitive pricing and a well thought out interior. The brand’s impeccable reputation for strong sales and great reliability, make it easy to consider.
What’s new for 2021: Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are now standard, along with power-folding side mirrors, and wipers that are newly redesigned. New Black Line Special Edition joins the family.
Features and technology: Following the brand’s cues for luxury and reliability, the Lexus NX includes plenty of technology and style to boot. Both NX and NX F-Sport are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 producing 235 horsepower and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. NX 300h features hybrid 2.5-liter inline-4 with electric motor-generator that combines to provide 194 net horsepower. Power delivery to the AWD system occurs with continuously variable transmission with step-down mode.
Inside, build quality is flawless. Technology includes an 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system with 14 speakers and Harman/Kardon Clari-fi technology to restore audio quality from compressed digital music files.
What does the future hold: According to Japanese auto magazines, rumors suggest the 2022 model will be all-new with a choice of three powertrains. Find a 2021 Lexus NX for sale near you
X3 vs. NX: Strengths Comparison
BMW X3 benefits: Sporty “Ultimate Driving Machine” ethos makes the X3 the “3 Series of SUVs.” Variety of models gives choice to many buyers.
Lexus NX benefits: The Lexus NX is not too big, or not too small; easy to live with.
2021 BMW X3 vs. 2021 Lexus NX: Which is better?
The BMW X3 offers “get-there-fast” looks and styling. The Lexus NX is loaded with reliability, good resales and luxury. We like to go fast. For that reason, our choice is the BMW X3. Find a 2021 BMW X3 for sale or Find a 2021 Lexus NX for sale
|2021 BMW X3||2021 Lexus NX|
|Engine||2.0-liter turbo inline-4||2.0-liter turbo inline-4|
|Horsepower||248 hp @ 5,200 rpm||235 hp @ 4,800 rpm|
|Torque||258 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm||258 lb-ft @ 1,650 rpm|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg (23 city/29 highway)||25 mpg (22 city/28 highway)|
|Also Available||AWD; hybrid model; X3 M performance models||AWD; hybrid model; luxury trim levels|
|Warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||6 years/70,000 miles|
|NHTSA Safety Rating||5 star||5 star|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||112.8 inches||104.7 inches|
|Overall Length||185.9 inches||182.7 inches|
|Height||66.0 inches||64.8 inches|
|Turning Diameter||39.4 feet||37.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||41.1 inches||38.2 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||39.1 inches||38.1 inches|
|Legroom, Front||40.3 inches||42.8 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||36.4 inches||36.1 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||57.6 inches||57.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||56.0 inches||55.3 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||101.4 cubic feet||71.6 cubic feet|
|Cargo Volume||28.7 cubic feet/62.7 cubic feet||17.7 cubic feet/54.6 cubic feet|