Published on June 19th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


BMW X3 vs Lexus NX: the RM304K Malaysian Spec Comparison

Compact Premium SUVs are gaining popularity in Malaysia, as sports sedans start to look less appealing to family-oriented buyers. With the recently announced PENJANA plan bringing SST rates on cars down, we thought we’d compare two good premium options at around RM304,000. The two cars that hit this price point perfectly after the sales tax discount are the BMW X3 xDrive30i Luxury and the Lexus NX 300 Urban. These are rivals in the market, but in Malaysia both companies have approached the problem in their own unique way.


BMW Malaysia’s X3 is locally-assembled, while the Lexus way is to produce the car in Japan and imported it completely built up. As such, the first hurdle we have to clear here is that with the Lexus NX 300 Urban, you’re trading some equipment and performance advantages for a car that’s built under the strictest Japanese manufacturing standards. Many car buyers still swear by CBU Japan quality, but CKD has its advantages as well.

This sales tax holiday, for instance, sees CKD cars getting 10% SST discount while CBU vehicles only get 5% off. Despite this, the fully-imported Lexus NX got a larger discount. Strange, but we won’t comment further. Here are the numbers:

Before SST discount:

After SST discount:

  • Lexus NX 300 Urban – RM303,117 (-RM10,771)
  • BMW X3 xDrive30i Luxury – RM304,234.72 (-RM9,565.28)

So, for the actual advantage of CKD, we have to look at what additional equipment BMW have thrown in.

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Rims & Tyres

Here BMW gives you larger 19″ alloy wheels, while Lexus gives you 18″ wheels. Here’s what they look like:

The X3’s rims are wrapped in 245/50R19 run flat tyres. No spare tyre is provided. The NX gets regular 225/60R18 tyres and a space saver is in the boot.


BMW take a win here as well as the X3 gets a larger 10.25″ touchscreen with Navigation and iDrive Touch input. The Lexus system lacks Navigation, and is 8″ wide.

Additionally, the X3 gets a 12-speaker, 205W audio setup while the Lexus NX gets 8 speakers. Audio quality and the infotainment interface can be a matter of personal preference, but we’re just noting the numbers here.

Convenience, Safety & Nice-to-Haves

Here the X3 has a few toys that are lacking in this base model NX. These include a powered boot with contactless operation, auto parking, a fully digital instrument cluster, 3 zone auto climate control (the Lexus has dual zone), and a rear powered sun shade.

But it’s not as if BMW have gotten away with a clear win in the equipment section. Note-worthy equipment pieces in the NX that are missing in the BMW are:

Electric steering adjustment and manual reclining rear seats.

Safety & Active Cruise Control

Just last year, Lexus Malaysia updated the NX with loads of safety equipment, including Lexus Safety System+.

This means that the NX 300 Urban actually has Pre-Collision System with Brake Collision Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert, Active Cornering Assist, as well as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (with low-speed follow). None of this is on the equivalent BMW X3.

What’s more, the Lexus comes with 8 airbags, where the X3 only has 6.


Both SUVs come with 2-litre turbocharged engines, and both have some on-paper similarities. However, the two companies have very different approaches to engine building. Both also come with all-wheel drive as standard, but the Lexus has a 6-speed automatic where the X3 gets an 8-speed. It’s also worth noting that the engine and gearbox are mounted longitudinally in the BMW and tranversely in the NX.

Here are the figures:

BMW X3 xDrive30i Luxury

  • 252hp @ 5200rpm, 350Nm @ 1450rpm
  • 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds, top speed of 240km/h
  • 7.6L/100km

Lexus NX 300 Urban

  • 235hp @ 4800rpm, 350Nm @ 1650 rpm
  • 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds, top speed of 200km/h
  • 7.9L/100km

It’s clear that BMW takes the performance win here in all departments.

Additionally, the X3 runs on multi-link rear suspension, while the NX uses Double Wishbones at the rear.


When it comes to size, the new BMW X3 has a clear advantage. Here’s how the two cars stack up

BMW X3 vs Lexus NX

  • Length: 4708mm vs 4630mm
  • Width: 1891mm vs 1870mm
  • Height: 1676mm vs 1630mm

That being said, the both have a 550-litre boot and as mentioned above the Lexus NX comes with a spare tyre.


On the face of it, the BMW X3 has some core advantages in size, performance, and kit. However, the Lexus NX puts up a very compelling case with much better safety equipment, active cruise control, and has the appeal of a fully-imported vehicle.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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