2020 BMW 7 Series vs. 2019 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/19

The 7 Series 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 7 Series has standard Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The RLX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the 7 Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then projects the image on the windshield, near the driver’s line of sight and even aims one of the vehicle’s headlights in the direction of the person or object. The RLX doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 7 Series’ 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 7 Series and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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 and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

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

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 Series 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 7 Series’ warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 7 Series’ engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RLX’s camshafts. If the RLX’s 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 7 Series has a standard 180-amp alternator (250-amp - 7 Series optional). The RLX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 7 Series has a standard 950-amp battery (660 750i). 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 7 Series’ reliability 40 points higher than the RLX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 7 Series second among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The RLX isn’t in the top three.

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

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The 7 Series has more powerful engines than the RLX:

Horsepower

Torque

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

745e 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

389 HP

443 lbs.-ft.

750i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

M760i 6.6 turbo V12

600 HP

627 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

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On the EPA test cycle the 745e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the RLX Sport Hybrid (52 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 28 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 740i RWD gets better fuel mileage than the RLX FWD (22 city/29 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

The 745e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The RLX must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the 7 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Acura only offers a regenerative brake system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.

Regardless of its engine, the 7 Series’ 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 7 Series’ standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the RLX’s standard fuel tank (20.6 vs. 18.5 gallons).

Transmission

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The 7 Series’ 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

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For better stopping power the 7 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the RLX:

740i/745e

750i

RLX

RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.5 inches

12.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.5 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The 7 Series’ 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 7 Series stops much shorter than the RLX:

7 Series

RLX

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The 7 Series’ optional 275/35R20 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.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 7 Series offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RLX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 7 Series 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

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The 7 Series 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 RLX doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the 7 Series uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the RLX, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The 7 Series 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 RLX.

The 7 Series has a standard 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 7 Series has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The 7 Series’ 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 7 Series’ wheelbase is 14.2 inches longer than on the RLX (126.4 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

The 7 Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the RLX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the 7 Series more stable handling and braking.

The Alpina B7 handles at .97 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 750i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the RLX (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Chassis

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The front grille of the 7 Series 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

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 7 Series a Large car, while the RLX is rated a Mid-size.

The 7 Series has 11.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RLX (114 vs. 102.1).

The 7 Series has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 2 inches more rear headroom, 5.6 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the RLX.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 7 Series’ available rear seats recline. The RLX’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 7 Series’ 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

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The engine in the 7 Series 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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, the 7 Series has standard driver and 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 7 Series and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 7 Series 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.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 7 Series has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Optional air conditioned front and rear seats keep the 7 Series’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The RLX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The 7 Series has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel is only available on the RLX Sport Hybrid.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 7 Series has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The RLX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 7 Series’ Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The RLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/19

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 7 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura RLX isn't recommended.

The BMW 7 Series outsold the Acura RLX by over four to one during 2018.

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

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