Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 Acura RDX VS 2013 BMW X3 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2013 Acura RDX

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2013 BMW X3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Acura RDX 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 X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the RDX deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The RDX’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The X3’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the RDX and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the RDX has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the X3 have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 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 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

The RDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 33 more horsepower (273 vs. 240) than the X3 xDrive28i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Acura RDX is faster than the X3 xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.3 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.3 sec

4.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

91.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the RDX’s fuel efficiency. The X3 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura RDX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X3 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The RDX stops much shorter than the X3:



60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the X3 xDrive28i.

The RDX 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 X3, 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.

Chassis Comparison

The Acura RDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the BMW X3.

The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The RDX has 1.3 inches more front shoulder room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The RDX has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (26.1 vs. 19 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (61.3 vs. 56.6 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X3 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RDX has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RDX has standard extendable sun visors. The X3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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