Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2010 Acura RL VS 2010 BMW 5 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2010 Acura RL

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VS

2010 BMW 5

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Acura RL 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 RL deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The RL’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.

The RL offers an optional Collision Mitigation Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 5 Series doesn't offer crash mitigation brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All Wheel Drive is standard on the RL. But it costs extra on the 5 Series.

Both the RL and the 5 Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 RL is safer than the 5 Series Sedan:

RL

5 Series

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

Head Injury Index

211

721

Chest forces

39 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 RL is safer than the 5 Series Sedan without its optional rear seat side airbags:

RL

5 Series

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Structure

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Driver

Head Protection Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

GOOD

POOR

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

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 RL is safer then the 5 Series:

RL

5 Series

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

34 mm

60 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Pass

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

68

95

Max Neck Tension

382

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 RL as a “Top Pick” a rating only granted to 90 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 5 Series was not a Top Pick.

Warranty Comparison

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RL 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 engine in the RL has 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 RL’s reliability is better than the 5 Series’. In Consumer Reports, the RL’s reliability is 43% better.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RL second among midsize premium cars in their 2009 Initial Quality Study. The 5 Series isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 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 14th in initial quality. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 15th.

Engine Comparison

The RL’s 3.7 SOHC V6 produces 70 more horsepower (300 vs. 230) and 71 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 200) than the 528i Sedan’s standard 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura RL 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 RL stops shorter than the 5 Series:

RL

5 Series

80 to 0 MPH

224 feet

231 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

176 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

131 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

148 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the RL has larger tires than the 5 Series (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The RL’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 5 Series’ standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RL has standard 18 inch wheels. Smaller 17 inch wheels are standard on the 5 Series.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The RL handles at .87 G’s, while the 5 Series Sedan pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The RL goes through Road & Track’s slalom 6.6 MPH faster than the 5 Series Sedan (67.3 vs. 60.7 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the RL has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The 5 Series uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Acura RL amounts to more than styling. The RL has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the 5 Series (.29 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the RL get better fuel mileage.

The RL (except ) uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 5 Series doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The RL has .8 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room and .3 inches more rear legroom than the 5 Series Sedan.

Ergonomics Comparison

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RL has standard extendable sun visors. The 5 Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sun shade is standard on the RL to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. A sunshade costs extra on the 5 Series.

The RL’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The 5 Series doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the RL owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RL will cost $419 to $1657 less than the 5 Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RL is less expensive to operate than the 5 Series because typical repairs cost much less on the RL than the 5 Series, including $147 less for a water pump, $112 less for an alternator, $48 less for a fuel pump, $440 less for front struts and $534 less for a timing belt/chain.

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