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There’s a lot of variety in the world of midsize luxury SUVs. One of the most popular SUVs in this class is the BMW X5, famous for bringing the engaging BMW driving experience to a practical midsize SUV. One American option in this segment is the Lincoln Nautilus, a modest luxury SUV based on the Ford Edge.

The X5 outsells the Nautilus by a pretty significant margin. However, the Lincoln has one big advantage that luxury SUV shoppers should know about.

What advantage does the Lincoln Nautilus have over the X5?

For the 2023 model year, the starting price of the BMW X5 is 30% higher than the Lincoln Nautilus. The Lincoln starts at $47,325, and the BMW begins at $61,600. This significant price gap almost puts these SUVs in different categories. The X5 has standard two-row seating and optional three-row seating, but even the three-row Lincoln Aviator has a lower starting price of $53,340.

Let’s say you want to option a Nautilus to make it more similar to the X5. For starters, you’d need to upgrade to the optional twin-turbo V6 engine. It produces 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. That’s the same horsepower rating as the base engine in the X5 and an extra 50 lb-ft of torque.

The 2023 Lincoln Nautilus in the mid-range Reserve trim ($53,535) with the optional turbo V6 (an extra $2,700) still has a starting price lower than the X5. You can add more luxury with the Reserve I package ($4,785), which includes the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 1.0 Plus safety tech suite, 20-inch wheels, the Phone as a Key feature, and a Revel 13-speaker audio system. The Reserve II package ($10,180) adds everything you get with Reserve I, plus 21-inch wheels, a Revel 19-speaker audio system, LED multi-projector headlights, LED fog lights, and the Cargo Utility Package.

Notable advantages of the BMW X5

While the Lincoln Nautilus is an excellent value as a luxury SUV, the BMW X5 is more popular for good reasons. Unsurprisingly, the BMW delivers a more engaging driving experience than the Lincoln. Part of the reason the BMW is more expensive is its standard turbo six-cylinder engine, while the standard mill in the Lincoln is a four-cylinder.

Things get more exciting from there. There’s a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 389 hp and an all-electric range of 30 miles. Lincoln offers two plug-in hybrids, but the Nautilus isn’t one of them. The X5 also has an available turbocharged V8 that makes 523 horsepower in the M50i and up to 617 hp in the X5 M. Meanwhile, the Nautilus has no performance variants that come close to this kind of power.

The X5 also has an arguably more luxurious interior than the Nautilus. The Nautilus has a nice cabin, but a few details are clearly inherited from the more affordable Ford Edge. There’s nothing wrong with the Edge, but this can subtract from the luxury SUV experience. The well-crafted cabin of the X5, with its premium design and high-quality materials, is distinctly BMW.

Which compact luxury SUV is the best buy?

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Even when you add premium options to the Nautilus, it’s still much more affordable than a similarly equipped BMW X5. The X5 has many advantages, like a plug-in hybrid option, an available V8 making up to 617 horsepower, and the brand panache that comes with the BMW badge. However, luxury SUV shoppers who prefer good value over an exciting drive or a prestigious emblem on the hood would do well to choose the practical Lincoln Nautilus.