2020 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mercedes E-Class Sedan is safer than the Acura RLX:

E-Class Sedan

RLX

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

177

252

Neck Compression

55 lbs.

67 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

180

248

Neck Stress

105 lbs.

163 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

232/126 lbs.

318/533 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mercedes E-Class Sedan is safer than the Acura RLX:

E-Class Sedan

RLX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

149 G’s

175 G’s

Hip Force

223 lbs.

275 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

215

217

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

594 lbs.

901 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

11 inches

14 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 E-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RLX has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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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

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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.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 12th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

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The E 450 4MATIC Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 341) than the RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the E 350 Sedan RWD gets better fuel mileage than the RLX FWD V6 (23 city/32 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

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

E-Class Sedan

E 450 4MATIC Sedan

RLX

RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.2 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 Sedan

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

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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

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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 2.4 feet tighter than the RLX’s (38.1 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

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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

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

Cargo Capacity

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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

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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 fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 4% lower rating, Acura is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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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 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, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The RLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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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

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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 35.76% to 35.92% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 32.48% to 33.89%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mercedes E-Class Sedan will be $470 to $6909 less than for the Acura RLX.

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 2019/11/21

The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 2 years. The RLX has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Acura RLX by over 33 to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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