2019 BMW 530e vs. 2019 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The 530e has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RLX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 530e 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 RLX doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 530e’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The RLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the 530e and the RLX 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 530e its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RLX has not been fully tested, yet.


The 530e’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the RLX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 530e for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RLX.

There are over 27 percent more BMW dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 530e’s warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 530e’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RLX’s camshafts. If the RLX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 5 places higher in reliability than Acura.


The 530e’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid produces 38 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 272) than the RLX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 530e gets better fuel mileage than the RLX:








Electric Motor (MPGe)

70 city/75 hwy



2.0 turbo 4 cyl. Hybrid

27 city/30 hwy



Electric Motor (MPGe)

66 city/68 hwy



2.0 turbo 4 cyl. Hybrid

27 city/31 hwy




3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy



Sport Hybrid 3.5 DOHC V6

28 city/29 hwy

The 530e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The RLX must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW 530e higher (7 out of 10) than the Acura RLX (3 to 7). This means the 530e produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the RLX every 15,000 miles.


The 530e’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The RLX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 530e’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RLX:




RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

12.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The 530e’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the RLX are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 530e can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The RLX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 530e offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The RLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 530e’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the RLX (117.1 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

The 530e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.4% to 50.6%) than the RLX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the 530e more stable handling and braking.

The 530e handles at .85 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 530e executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the RLX (26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 530e’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the RLX’s (39.5 feet vs. 40.5 feet). The 530e xDrive’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the RLX’s (40.1 feet vs. 40.5 feet).


The 530e is 3.5 inches shorter than the RLX, making the 530e easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the 530e uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The RLX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The 530e has 1.2 inches more front headroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the RLX.

Cargo Capacity

The 530e’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 530e offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The RLX doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 530e is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the RLX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 12% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.


Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, the 530e offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The power windows standard on both the 530e and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 530e is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 530e’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the RLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 530e has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 530e’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

The 530e will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 530e will retain 37.91% to 37.94% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 33.14% to 34.94%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 530e will be $5117 to $11142 less than for the Acura RLX.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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