BMW X3 VS Ford Everest
- Scorchingly fast
- Gives its rivals a run
- Terrific chassis
- Apple CarPlay price is extortion
- Some (not me) find the ride too hard
- Needs more visual aggro
- All-round package
- Ride and handling
- Safety tech
- No AEB on Ambiente (coming in 2019)
- No reach-adjustment on steering wheel
Big fast SUVs have long been a guilty pleasure of mine. My brain has been telling me for years, since the first time I drove one - the first-gen Audi SQ5 - that they're silly and wasteful and 'not my kind of car'.
The Europeans - and latterly, the Americans - seem to be playing to an audience of me, convincing my prejudiced head that my try-anything heart is right: over-engined, jacked-up, stiffly-sprung family wagons are as much fun as anything else.
The X3 M is BMW's first full-fat M version of the X3, a car that has never really fired the imagination until this third generation. First we got the very good X3 M40i, now we have a 375kW, twin-turbo straight-six screamer, the M Competition.
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Since we first published this story on August 24, 2018, there have been some changes to the Ford Everest range, including the entry-level Everest Ambiente (RWD and 4WD variants) getting advanced driver-assist safety systems, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, at no extra cost.
The Ambiente also now gets lane-keep assist with driver alert, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beams. That's all in addition to the line-up's reversing camera, rear parking sensors, roll-over mitigation, trailer sway control and more.
The 4WD Ambiente also gets hill descent control, hill launch assist and an electronically locking rear differential.
In other Everest news, the top-shelf 2.0-litre twin-turbo Everest Titanium 4WD has dropped in price to $72,290 so it now avoids the luxury car tax.
Changes are rumored to be coming soon for the Ford Ranger range – perhaps towards the end of 2019 – and those changes may also materialise in the next update of the Everest line-up.
Stay tuned for more Ford Everest news.
As originally published August 24, 2018:
Change is good but there will always be some who become enraged at the mere hint of it. Case in point: those who strongly dislike 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engines.
In February this year, when just such an engine was revealed as the powerplant of choice for Ford’s high-performance ute, the Ranger Raptor, CarsGuide comments, online chat rooms and beer gardens everywhere echoed with acid-tongued complaint and hearty objections that included such pearls of wisdom as “The only good two litres are milk and orange juice”.
Well, it looks like some of us have a bitter pill to swallow because that 2.0-litre engine is now in the new, refreshed MY19 Everest, Ford’s large SUV wagon, as well – and it’s here to stay. But don’t fret because the 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine remains in the Everest ranks.
In other good news, the 2019 Everest has AEB.
Any bad news? Maybe. Read on.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
As much as I love the mental GLC63 - complete with V8 bellow - the X3 M is the one for drivers. While that's a silly thing to say on the surface - what 'driver' is going to buy an SUV? - this is the new reality. We love these things and they're not going away.
While it may not be quite as comfortable as any of its competition or have the V8 cachet of the Jag and the Merc, it still takes the fight to them in what is easily the roomiest and most practical in this niche part of the segment. And it's an enormous amount of fun.
You have plenty of choices in the mid-size fast SUV market - X3 M, GLC63, Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio - what's your choice?
Originally built off the Ranger platform, the Everest has always been overshadowed by its overachieving ute stablemate. But now, with the introduction of AEB and some up-speccing to its Everest line-up, Ford has ensured its large SUV wagon is still a strong contender in the race for top honours in the market.
The line-up's volume seller is the Trend and that's still a pretty good sweet spot for the range.
Most of us don’t want a big, shouty 4WD, but we do expect a lot in our new vehicles: we want a quiet, refined family-friendly SUV that drives well, has plenty of safety tech, car-like ride and handling, and good fuel consumption. In its Everest, Ford has come pretty close to producing one of the best around. If only the Titanium's price-tag wasn't so high.
Is the Everest's 2.0-litre twin-turbo the way of the future or a misstep? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
The third-generation X3 is by far the best-looking and isn't as badly blighted by BMW's current oversized, hatchback-straining grilles. It's not small, no, but in the flesh, it looks fine.
The usual M accoutrements are present, with new front and rear bumpers, skirts and a whopping set of 21-inch alloys. It looks different and marginally more aggro than the M40i and just enough so a vaguely interested observer will notice.
A quick look at the rest of the similarly-sized hard-and-fast SUVs reveals a similar approach.
The seats add some serious excitement, they're a proper set of M seats, complete with the slightly naff light-up X3 M logos in the backrest. But it's predictably well-made, is very comfortable and is full of nice materials.
Nothing much to report here. The Everest has always had substantial presence and nothing has changed in that respect; it’s a good-looking unit.
Among the styling tweaks are a new grille design, revised bumper and fascia design, halogen projector headlights with halogen daytime-running lights, a laminated acoustic windscreen, a 10-speaker audio system, as well as an 'Ebony' interior colour scheme with contrast stitching and chrome highlights.
If there’s any potential strife to the interior look and feel here, it may be that it’s too neat and tidy – too plain – and in danger of becoming a bit dated.
The Titanium has new 20-inch split-spoke alloy wheels.
This X3, if you need reminding, is bigger than BMW's first SAV (ugh), the X5. That means plenty of room up front, heaps of legroom for most in the back and enough room for five aboard.
Front seat passengers score a pair of cupholders with a cover and the centre rear armrest has two more for a total of four. Add to that bottle holders in each door and your beverage holding capabilities are pretty standard.
The boot starts at an impressive 550 litres, almost tripling to 1600 litres when you drop the 40/20/40 split fold seat. You get a good flat load space when you do that, too.
Inside is nice and roomy. It’s also well blended together; chrome, leather accents, as well as clear, easy-to-read instrument displays and colourful Sync3 screen. Nice, small touches, such as the illuminated blue edging around USB ports, add to the cabin’s premium feel.
The front seats are very comfortable and electrically adjustable; the third row can be deployed or stowed away by using buttons on the right-hand rear interior wall of the cargo area.
Those in the front are well catered for with access to two 12-volt sockets, and two USB ports.
Storage spaces include glovebox, two cup holders and a deep bin between driver and front passenger, and bottle holders in each door.
Second-row passengers get a pair of pop-out cupholders in the arm-rest, and can control aircon temp and fan speed, as well as open or close air vents, and use a 230-volt or 12-volt socket from their seat.
There are two ISOFIX anchor points in the second row and the cargo area has bag hooks each side, as well as luggage tie-down points on the floor.
Price and features
For $157,900, before on-road costs, you may think this car should be absolutely loaded with stuff. And it is. Whether that's enough is up to you, but the price is about right for its segment.
It's worth remembering we only get the up-spec Competition version, BMW saw no point in offering the 'normal' version nobody was going to buy.
For your cash you get 21-inch alloys, multi-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, keyless entry and start, active cruise control, electronic damper control, digital instrument cluster (not the new 'Live Cockpit'), sat nav, auto high beam, auto LED headlights, launch control, leather seats and steering wheel, electric front seats, head-up display, auto parking, power everything, auto wipers, huge panorama sunroof and a tyre repair kit.
The big central screen features BMW's iDrive, controlled by either the rotary dial or via touchscreen. It's a belter of a system and I reckon it's still the best, although you have to pay for Apple CarPlay - this remains controversial and I wonder how long the company will persist.
The Everest range remains a three-model line-up: entry-level Ambiente, mid-spec and volume seller Trend, and top-spec Titanium.
One of the other more notable new features in the range is 'Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking' (AEB) with 'Pedestrian Detection' and 'Vehicle Detection', which is now standard across the Trend and Titanium; it will become standard on Ambiente in 2019.
Keyless entry and push-button start are now standard across the range, and Trend and Titanium get Ford’s hands-free power tailgate.
Also new to the Trend are leather-accented seat trim, eight-way power driver's seat and a leather-trimmed gear shifter.
All prices to follow exclude on-road costs.
Everest Ambiente pricing is: RWD 3.2L (five seats) $49,190; 3.2L RWD (seven seats) $50,190; 3.2L 4WD (five seats) $54,190; and Ambiente 4WD 3.2L (seven seats) $55,190.
Everest Trend pricing is: RWD Bi-Turbo $56,190; 4WD 3.2L $59,990; and 4WD Bi-Turbo $61,190.
The Ford Everest Titanium is only available as a 4WD with the twin-turbo engine and 10-speed auto at a cost of $73,990, including luxury car tax. We spent the lion’s share of our time at the launch in a Titanium so we’ll focus on that variant.
The new exterior prestige paint is Diffused Silver for $780.
The 2019 Everest is due in showrooms this month.
Engine & trans
The X3 M arrives from the US with a shiny new version of BMW's modular six-cylinder performance engine. While the M Performance M40i has a single turbo (B58) straight six, one tiny change to the name - from B58 to S58 - means a heck of a lot.
The S58 takes the same fundamental formula, bolts in two new single-scroll turbos, throws in forged conrods and a few other changes to boost the power to 375kW (500 horsepower) and 600Nm.
That torque figure is available across a nice wide 3350 revs, between 2600rpm and 5950rpm.
Getting all that to the wheels is the M version of BMW's all-wheel drive system xDrive and an active rear differential. The near-ubiquitous eight-speed ZF brokers the connection between that system and the flywheel and it's all impossibly smooth and feels bulletproof.
The new-generation twin-turbo engine – 157kW at 3750rpm and 500Nm from 1750rpm-2000rpm – is paired with a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, the same combination as used in Ford’s high-performance models, Mustang and Raptor.
But this working partnership is a better match here, in the Everest, than it is in the Raptor, in terms of smooth delivery of power and torque at low and high speeds, as well as doing everything in an unfussed manner – low-key but still effective.
As mentioned, the previous-gen 3.2-litre 143kW/470Nm five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and six-speed auto is still offered in Ambiente and Trend, ensuring those who prefer their engines bigger are catered for.
The Titanium has full-time 4WD with low-range gearing ('4x4 Low') and electronic diff lock, as well as a 'Terrain Management System' with four driving modes (Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Rock) to suit different terrain.
The reality, of course, is different but not unexpectedly so - a week in my hands in the suburbs and a cobweb-clearing early morning run delivered a 14.1L/100km average. Again, not bad given the kind grunt that's on tap.
Best-of-the-bunch 2.0-litre fuel consumption is listed as 6.9L/100km (combined) in the Trend RWD, and 7.1L/100km (combined) in the 4WD. We noted an average of 9.8L/100km on the dash but there may have been some heavy right foot involved in prompting that figure.
The Everest has an 80-litre fuel tank.
One of the things I love about BMW is the company's ability to produce a car that on one hand is so normal and competent for the every day but also produce a version that is completely doolally.
The fine folk at M obviously involve themselves from day one so that when they get a finished car they can get cracking on making it properly fast. Obviously, quite a bit has to change for that to happen.
The X3 M is very stiff. Pop the bonnet and you'll see a piece of whatever the metal equivalent of four-by-two keeping the two sides of the car apart.
This is something M does whenever it gets a vanilla BMW, as it has with the M2 and outgoing M3 and M4 pair. To name three. The difference from the driver's seat, when compared to, say, the M40i, is immediate.
The steering is super-responsive, the front of the car reacting incredibly quickly given the X3 M's two-tonne weight.
Even in Comfort mode, the X3 M's ride is pretty firm. That doesn't bother me especially, nor my wife, who has a keen sense of ride quality. It never really falls over the line of being uncomfortable but it's worth knowing if you're considering this and you have to carry passengers.
If you drive around town in either M1 or M2 (in the factory settings at least), you're mad - the suspension becomes very hard and the steering too heavy. In fact, the steering in its Super Sport setting is just too heavy and uncooperative.
Cheerfully belting the 7200rpm redline at every upshift, barking between gears and delivering torque the way a hungry Labrador delivers a headbutt if you get in between it and food, the straight-six is glorious.
The 4.1-second sprint from 0-100km/h is only part of the story. Not many cars can cover ground so quickly and fewer still SUVs of this size and weight can do it with such precision.
When you turn the wheel on the X3 M, the front goes where you want it, instantly. All that under-bonnet bracing prevents the front flexing and shimmying, which is the enemy of going fast. So that sorts out getting into the corner. The best thing is you can push through corners and slingshot out the other side, riding that huge torque slab, the rear wheels doing most of the work with the occasional wriggle to keep you smiling.
A good chunk of the applause goes to the way the xDrive all-wheel drive system and its 'M Active' diff at the rear work together in Sport+ mode.
As colleague Steve Corby discovered at this car's clay-pan launch, the front wheels aren't doing much of the driving when you've turned it all up to 11 in '4WD Sport'.
When the road goes from straight to twisty, the excellent brakes come in to play, hauling the car down from big speeds without complaint. Even better is that in normal driving, they're not grabby and the pedal always lets you know what shape you're in.
The Everest’s 2.0-litre is not going to get any pulses pounding with its engine note, that’s for sure, but it more than makes up for any lack of rough, gutsy charm – perceived or otherwise – by being the consummate quiet achiever. Because it is very quiet … and it achieves.
The good news is that we pushed the 2477kg Titanium pretty hard off the mark, as well as made a series of overtaking moves and clocked up a bit of open-road cruising and it just burbled along nicely. There’s a real no-fuss quality to its delivery of big torque at low revs. It certainly seems to work better in the Everest than in the Raptor, which we drove at launch a few weeks ago and the consensus there was that it was underpowered and underwhelming.
The Everest is also very quiet inside. Ford reckons the twin-turbo is “much quieter” than their 3.2-litre models due to advanced sound insulation and 'Active Noise Cancellation' which has helped to improve cabin quietness. Well, the 3.2 is pretty quiet anyway, but in the short time I’ve spent so far in the 2019 twin-turbo Everest, I have no reason not to believe them.
Its steering has that real Ford feel – light and lively but precise – and on its revised coil-spring suspension, the Titanium’s ride and handling is even smoother than before. It was firm, bordering on stiff at times, but perhaps the Titanium’s 20-inch rims on road-biased Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV tyres set at 38 psi could be blamed for some of that; 18 x 8.0-inch alloy wheels and tyres are a no-cost option on the Titanium.
We did some decent 4WDing on this launch out near Lithgow and the Everest was infrequently challenged anywhere near the limits of its off-roading capabilities.
In fact we intentionally drove our tester in Normal mode and took the ‘off’ line through sections of terrain that would have likely put some rivals in a spot of bother but, with judicious use of that 10-speed auto, especially that low first, we trucked through no problem.
The Everest’s hill descent control deserves a mention also as it’s rather smooth and effective; it holds very low speeds (registering as 0km/h on the dash), can be adjusted via buttons on the steering wheel, and was not jerky or jarring like some systems in other off-roaders can be.
When we did dial through the drive modes of the terrain management system to actually suit the surface we were driving on there was no surprise at how efficient and effective it was, as we’ve used it quite extensively before in the bush and on beach sand.
The Titanium has 227mm ground clearance. We observed a few Everests on different terrain and, especially on deep sharp-edged ruts and short steeper-angled rocky climbs its underslung full-sized spare tyre behind the rear axle can seem like it’s about to become a plow – and there's something else to watch out for.
One fellow journo pointed out that what appears to be the AdBlue tank protrudes below the bottom edge of the full-sized spare, eating into a bit of ground clearance and the Titanium’s departure angle; posing a bit of a damage risk if your 4WDing takes your Everest into particularly tricky territory.
The Everest has a towing capacity of 3100kg (braked) up from its previous 3000kg; unbraked max is 750kg. The Titanium has a payload of 623kg, a GVM of 3100kg and a 5900kg GCM.
The X3 M rolls out the door of BMW's North Carolina factory with six airbags, stability and traction controls, front and rear parking sensors, around view camera (including reversing camera), forward and reverse AEB, blind spot sensor, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, reverse cross traffic alert, speed limit recognition and tyre pressure monitoring.
There are also two ISOFIX points and three top-tether restraints.
The X3 scored a maximum five ANCAP stars in 2017.
The Everest range has a five-star ANCAP rating as a result of testing conducted in 2015.
Standard safety gear across the range includes seven airbags (driver and front passenger, side front, side curtain (to third row) and driver's knee), ABS, DSC, RSC, EBD, traction control, EBA, reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
Driver-assist tech in the top-spec Titanium includes AEB, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
It has five child-seat anchor points and two ISOFIX anchors in the second row.
BMW offers a segment standard, but increasingly mean-looking, three years/unlimited kilometre warranty. It's not just BMW, though, it's all of the premium Germans. You do get three years roadside assist into the bargain and you can pay to extend the warranty, too.
You can pre-pay your servicing, with a five-year/80,000km Basic package for $3685. If you think you're going to give your X3 M a proper walloping you can opt for the the 'Plus Package'. For a not-inconsiderable $8173.
BMW will cover your brake pads and rotors for the same period as the Basic package.
Service intervals are variable because, as ever, BMWs tell you when they need a trip to the dealer.