2019 BMW X5 vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X5 has standard Active Protection, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MDX 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X5. But it costs extra on the MDX.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the X5 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 MDX doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The X5’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 MDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X5 and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available 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, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the X5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 47 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MDX has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MDX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 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 MDX.

There are over 27 percent more BMW dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the X5’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the X5’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the MDX’s camshafts. If the MDX’s 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’ 2019 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 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 49 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

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.

Engine

The X5 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 45 more horsepower (335 vs. 290) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The X5 xDrive40i’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 14 more horsepower (335 vs. 321) and 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid. The X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 135 more horsepower (456 vs. 321) and 190 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the X5 xDrive40i is faster than the Acura MDX V6:

X5

MDX

Zero to 60 MPH

4.9 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.6 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

129 MPH

113 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X5 gets better fuel mileage than the MDX:

MPG

X5

AWD

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

MDX

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/25 hwy

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the X5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Acura only offers a regenerative brake system on the MDX Sport Hybrid.

The X5 has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (21.9 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The X5 has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (21.9 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Transmission

The X5’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 MDX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:

X5 xDrive40i

X5 M Sport

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.6 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The X5’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MDX are solid, not vented.

The X5 stops much shorter than the MDX:

X5

MDX

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X5 has larger standard tires than the MDX (265/50R19 vs. 245/60R18). The X5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (F:275/40R21 & R:315/35R21 vs. 265/45R20).

The X5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MDX’s standard 60 series tires. The X5’s optional 275/35R22 front and 315/30R22 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the MDX A-Spec’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X5 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the MDX. The X5’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the MDX.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The MDX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The X5 offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The MDX doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The X5 offers an available adjustable 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 MDX.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the MDX (117.1 inches vs. 111 inches).

The X5’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the X5 more stable handling and braking.

The X5 xDrive40i handles at .89 G’s, while the MDX SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the X5 has a 1.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8.7 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the X5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the X5 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The MDX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The X5 has 2.7 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more rear headroom and .8 inches more rear legroom than the MDX.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the X5’s available third row seats recline. The MDX’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the X5’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The X5’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The MDX’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the X5’s available tailgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MDX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The X5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MDX’s (6603 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Acura MDX SH-AWD is only 5000 pounds. The X5 offers up to a 7209 lbs. towing capacity.

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any X5 can tow a minimum of 6603 pounds.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the X5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MDX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MDX, the X5 xDrive50i has a 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 X5 and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the X5 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The MDX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The X5’s 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 MDX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 X5’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the MDX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X5 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the X5 has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW X5 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The X5’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 MDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura MDX isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X5 third among midsize premium SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The MDX isn’t in the top three.

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

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