The X5 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
A passive infrared night vision system optional on the X5 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a night vision system.
The X5’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The X5 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the X5 and the Cayenne have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, front parking sensors, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
The X5’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Cayenne’s (12 vs. 10 years).
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Porsche doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Cayenne.
There are over 74 percent more BMW dealers than there are Porsche dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the X5’s warranty.
The X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 15 more horsepower (255 vs. 240) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (413 vs. 406) than the Cayenne’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel.
On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive35d gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne Diesel (24 city/31 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the X5 s/xDrive35i xDrive gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne S V6 (18 city/24 hwy vs. 17 city/24 hwy).
Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the X5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Porsche only offers a regenerative brake system on the Cayenne Hybrid.
The X5 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cayenne S E-Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (22.4 vs. 21.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The X5 stops shorter than the Cayenne:
60 to 0 MPH
The X5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cayenne’s standard 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X5 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Cayenne.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cayenne doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The X5 has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the Cayenne (115.5 inches vs. 114 inches).
The X5 xDrive50i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Cayenne Diesel (26.3 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .64 average G’s).
The design of the BMW X5 amounts to more than styling. The X5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Cayenne (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the X5 get better fuel mileage.
The X5 offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Cayenne can only carry 5.
The X5 has .9 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom and 3.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cayenne.
The X5 has a larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Cayenne with its rear seat folded (66 vs. 62.9 cubic feet).
The X5’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Cayenne.
The X5 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left down on the X5 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Cayenne can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the X5 has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Cayenne only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
When the X5 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Cayenne’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
Standard BMW Apps for the X5 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Cayenne doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.
The X5’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cayenne doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW X5 will be $4087 to $36076 less than for the Porsche Cayenne.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the X5 first among midsize premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Cayenne isn’t in the top three.
The X5 is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The Cayenne is not ranked.
The BMW X5 outsold the Porsche Cayenne by almost four to one during the 2015 model year.