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

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2010 BMW 5 Series

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2010 Acura RL

Safety Comparison

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 5 Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The RL doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 5 Series’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The RL doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 5 Series offers optional parking sensors to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The RL doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Compared to metal, the 5 Series’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Acura RL has a metal gas tank.

The 5 Series has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The RL doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the 5 Series and the RL 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.

Warranty Comparison

The 5 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the RL’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 5 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RL.

There are over 28 percent more BMW dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the 5 Series’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the 5 Series’ engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The RL’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the RL’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 5 Series has a standard 180 amp alternator. The RL’s 130 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 5 Series is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 5 Series’ battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The RL’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

The 535i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 271) than the RL’s 3.7 SOHC V6. The 550i Sedan’s standard 4.8 DOHC V8 produces 60 more horsepower (360 vs. 300) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (360 vs. 271) than the RL’s 3.7 SOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW 5 Series is faster than the Acura RL (automatics tested):


550i Sedan


Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.2 sec

6.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.4 sec

12.7 sec

16.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

5.5 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

13.7 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

102 MPH

104 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

144 MPH

131 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 5 Series’ engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the RL:


528i Sedan 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

2750 RPM

535i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1400 RPM

550i Sedan 4.8 DOHC V8

3400 RPM

RL 3.7 SOHC V6

5000 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 528i Sedan xDrive Auto gets better fuel mileage than the RL (17 city/25 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 5 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the RL:

528i Sedan



Front Rotors

12.8 inches

13.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

The 528i Sedan’s standard brakes have 14% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the RL (590 vs. 516 square inches), so the 5 Series has more braking power available. The 535i/550i’s brakes have 36% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the RL (701 vs. 516 square inches), so the 535i/550i has more braking power available.

The 5 Series stops much shorter than the RL:

5 Series


80 to 0 MPH

212 feet

226 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 550i Sedan’s optional 245/35R19 front and 275/30R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RL’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 550i Sedan offers optional 19 inch wheels. The RL’s largest wheels are only 18 inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 5 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The RL doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 5 Series Sedan offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Acura doesn’t offer an active suspension on the RL.

The 5 Series Sedan has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The RL doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 5 Series’ wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the RL (113.7 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

The 5 Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.7% to 50.3%) than the RL’s (58% to 42%). This gives the 5 Series more stable handling and braking.

The 5 Series Sedan handles at .90 G’s, while the RL pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 5 Series Sedan goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 1.6 MPH faster than the RL (67.1 vs. 65.5 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the 5 Series’ turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the RL’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.7 feet). The 5 Series xDrive’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the RL’s (39 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 5 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 600 pounds less than the Acura RL.

The 5 Series is 4.6 inches shorter than the RL, making the 5 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

The 5 Series Sedan has .7 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more rear headroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the RL.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 5 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the RL (14 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 5 Series easier. The 5 Series’ trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the RL’s liftover is 30 inches.

The 5 Series’ optional rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RL doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RL, the 5 Series offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The 5 Series offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The RL doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 5 Series and the RL have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 5 Series is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RL prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 5 Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The RL’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 5 Series to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The RL doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 5 Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The RL doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 5 Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The RL doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

The 5 Series’ standard power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The RL’s standard power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The 5 Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The RL has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

To help keep rear passengers entertained, the 5 Series offers optional rear seat controls for the radio. The RL doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The 5 Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the 5 Series will retain 58% to 60% of its original price after two years, while the RL only retains 56%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 5 Series is less expensive to operate than the RL because it costs $438 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 5 Series than the RL, including $99 less for front brake pads, $413 less for a starter, $104 less for fuel injection and $553 less for a power steering pump.

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