2019 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2019 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes E-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Acura RLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The rear seatbelts optional on the E-Class Sedan inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The RLX doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The E-Class Sedan’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 E-Class Sedan and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the E-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2018, a rating granted to only 28 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RLX was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

There are over 41 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 180-amp alternator. The RLX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the E-Class Sedan has a standard 850-amp battery. The RLX’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the E-Class Sedan’s reliability 50 points higher than the RLX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 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 Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

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

Engine

The E-Class Sedan has more powerful engines than the RLX:

 

Horsepower

Torque

E 300 Sedan 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

E 450 4MATIC Sedan 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

AMG E 53 Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

429 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

RLX 3.5 SOHC V6

310 HP

272 lbs.-ft.

RLX Sport Hybrid 3.5 SOHC V6

377 HP

341 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the E 300 Sedan RWD gets better fuel mileage than the RLX FWD V6 (22 city/30 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the E-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Acura only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.

The E-Class Sedan 300’s standard fuel tank has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the RLX’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the E-Class Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the RLX:

 

E-Class

AMG E 53

RLX

RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.6 inches

12.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.2 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The E-Class Sedan’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.

The E-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the RLX:

 

E-Class

RLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The E-Class Sedan’s optional 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RLX’s 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the E-Class Sedan 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 E-Class Sedan 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.

The E-Class Sedan has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Sedan’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The RLX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The RLX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the RLX (115.7 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

The E-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.2% to 45.8%) than the RLX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the E-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the RLX (25.1 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the E-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the RLX’s (38.2 feet vs. 40.5 feet). The E 450 4MATIC Sedan’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the RLX’s (39 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis

The E-Class Sedan is 4.3 inches shorter than the RLX, making the E-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The E-Class Sedan has 1.3 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the RLX.

Cargo Capacity

The E-Class Sedan’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 when your hands are full, the E-Class Sedan’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The RLX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the E-Class Sedan 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 Mercedes service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 23% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, the E-Class Sedan has standard driver and 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 power windows standard on both the E-Class Sedan and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the E-Class Sedan 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.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Sedan to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The RLX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

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 E-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the RLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the E-Class Sedan has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The E-Class Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the E-Class Sedan has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The RLX doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The RLX doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The E-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist 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.

Model Availability

The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Acura RLX isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

The E-Class Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the E-Class Sedan will retain 38.57% to 39.14% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 33.14% to 34.94%.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes E-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura RLX isn't recommended.

The E-Class was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The RLX has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Acura RLX by almost 25 to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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