Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2009 Acura TL VS 2009 BMW 3 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2009 Acura TL

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VS

2009 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Acura TL are height adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the TL deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The TL’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The 3 Series’ side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the TL and the 3 Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura TL is safer than the 3 Series Sedan:

TL

3 Series

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

274

406

Chest forces

42 g’s

53 g’s

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

472

494

Chest forces

41 g’s

57 g’s

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the TL is safer then the 3 Series:

TL

3 Series

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance Below Top of Head

31 mm

38 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Pass

Torso Acceleration

12.8 g’s

14.6 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

3

90

Max Neck Tension

222

741

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in frontal, side and rear impact tests, and its standard Vehicle Stability Assist, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the TL as a “Top Pick” a rating only granted to 64 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series was not a Top Pick.

Warranty Comparison

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Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TL 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 3 Series. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 3 Series ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

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The engines in the TL have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the 3 Series have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

The TL’s reliability is better than the 3 Series’. In Consumer Reports, the TL’s reliability is 26% better.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 17th in initial quality. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

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The TL’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (280 vs. 230) and 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (254 vs. 200) than the 328i’s standard 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl. The TL’s optional 3.7 SOHC V6 produces 5 more horsepower (305 vs. 300) than the 335i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura TL uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 3 Series requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

The TL has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series (18.5 vs. 16.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the TL’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series:

TL

3 Series

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13.1 inches

11.8 inches

The TL’s brakes have 13% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the 328i (522 vs. 464 square inches), so the TL has more braking power available.

The TL stops much shorter than the 3 Series:

TL

3 Series

80 to 0 MPH

204 feet

224 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the TL has larger tires than the 3 Series (245/50R17 vs. 205/55R16). The TL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series (245/50R17 vs. 225/40R18).

The TL’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the 328i’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TL has standard 17 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the 328i. The TL SH-AWD®’s optional 19 inch wheels are larger than the 18 inch wheels optional on the 335i.

The TL has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 3 Series, it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the 3 Series don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TL is 4.1 inches wider in the front and 4.2 inches wider in the rear than on the 3 Series.

The TL SH-AWD® handles at .91 G’s, while the 335i Sedan pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The TL SH-AWD® goes through Road & Track’s slalom 4.3 MPH faster than the 328i Sedan xDrive (67.4 vs. 63.1 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the TL has an electronically controlled liquid-filled engine mounts. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The 3 Series uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Road & Track while at idle, the interior of the TL SH-AWD® is quieter than the 335i Sedan (44 vs. 45 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the TL is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the 3 Series Sedan is rated a Compact.

The TL has 5.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 3 Series Sedan (98.2 vs. 93).

The TL has 1 inch more front legroom, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the 3 Series Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The TL has a much larger trunk than the 3 Series Sedan (13.1 vs. 12 cubic feet).

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