Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

300 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid

318 HP

322 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Platinum 3.0 turbo V6

365 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Explorer ST 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

415 lbs.-ft.

X4 xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

X4 M40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

355 HP

365 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The Explorer V6 Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X4 (20.2 vs. 17.2 gallons).

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The X4 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X4.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Explorer’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the X4:


Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.

X4 xDrive30i

X4 M40i

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the X4 (255/65R18 vs. 245/50R19). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X4 (275/45R21 vs. 245/40R20).

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The X4 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer than on the X4 (119.1 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the X4.

For better maneuverability, the Explorer’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the X4’s (39.2 feet vs. 40 feet).


The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The X4 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has standard seating for 7 passengers; the X4 can only carry 5.

The Explorer has 54.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X4 (152.7 vs. 97.8).

The Explorer has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, 3.3 inches more rear headroom, 3.5 inches more rear legroom and 5.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the X4.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Explorer’s middle row seats recline. The X4’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the X4.



Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


18.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 cubic feet

50.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X4 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s 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.


The Explorer offers a 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 Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The X4 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a 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

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


The Ford Explorer outsold the BMW X4 by almost 61 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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