Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2009 Acura TL VS 2009 BMW 5 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2009 Acura TL

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VS

2009 BMW 5

Safety Comparison

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 5 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 5 Series’ side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the TL and the 5 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 5 Series Sedan:

TL

5 Series

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Head Injury Index

274

721

Chest forces

42 g’s

57 g’s

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest forces

41 g’s

44 g’s

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

In a 31 MPH side-impact test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashes a 3300 pound sled into the side of new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura TL is safer than the 5 Series Sedan without its optional rear seat side airbags:

TL

5 Series

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Structure

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Driver

Head Protection Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Injury Criterion

245

249

Rear Passenger

Head Protection Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

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 5 Series:

TL

5 Series

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

36 mm

60 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Pass

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

3

95

Max Neck Tension

222

761

(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 5 Series was not a Top Pick.

Warranty Comparison

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TL 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 5 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 5 Series ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

The engines in the TL have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the 5 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 5 Series’. In Consumer Reports, the TL’s reliability is 50% 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.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura TL uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 5 Series requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The TL stops much shorter than the 5 Series:

TL

5 Series

80 to 0 MPH

204 feet

231 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the TL has larger tires than the 5 Series (245/50R17 vs. 225/50R17).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TL is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the 5 Series.

The TL SH-AWD® handles at .92 G’s, while the 5 Series Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The TL SH-AWD® goes through Road & Track’s slalom 6.7 MPH faster than the 5 Series Sedan (67.4 vs. 60.7 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

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 5 Series uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space Comparison

The TL has 1 inch more front legroom, .9 inches more front shoulder room and .2 inches more rear legroom than the 5 Series Sedan.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the TL owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the TL will cost $267 to $712 less than the 5 Series over a five year period.

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