2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2020 Acura TLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/27

The 5 Series Sedan has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The TLX 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 5 Series Sedan offers optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The TLX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 5 Series Sedan 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 TLX doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 5 Series 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 TLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the 5 Series Sedan and the TLX 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the BMW 5 Series Sedan is safer than the TLX:

5 Series Sedan

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

183

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

23 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.5/1.1 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.33/.49

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

3/2.5 kN

4.4/5 kN

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 5 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The TLX was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 5 Series Sedan 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 TLX.

There are over 29 percent more BMW dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 5 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 5 Series Sedan’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the TLX’s camshafts. If the TLX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 18th in initial quality. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 23rd.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 11 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The 5 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the TLX:

Horsepower

Torque

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

335 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

TLX 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

206 HP

182 lbs.-ft.

TLX 3.5 SOHC V6

290 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the 530i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder is faster than the Acura TLX 4-cylinder:

5 Series

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.5 MPH

91.1 MPH

As tested in Car and Driver the 540i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder is faster than the Acura TLX V6:

5 Series

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.1 sec

14.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.6 sec

6.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.5 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.2 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109 MPH

100 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

155 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/27

On the EPA test cycle the 5 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the TLX:

MPG

5 Series Sedan

RWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

25 city/32 hwy

AWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

23 city/31 hwy

M550i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/25 hwy

TLX

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

A-Spec 2.4 DOHC4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/31 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 DOHC V6.

20 city/29 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 5 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The TLX doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the 5 Series 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 TLX SH-AWD.

Transmission

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The 5 Series Sedan’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 TLX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 5 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the TLX:

530i

M550i

TLX

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

The 5 Series 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 TLX are solid, not vented.

The 5 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the TLX:

5 Series Sedan

TLX

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 5 Series Sedan has larger standard tires than the TLX (245/45R18 vs. 225/55R17).

The 5 Series Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the TLX’s standard 55 series tires. The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the TLX A-Spec’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 5 Series Sedan has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the TLX. The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the TLX A-Spec.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 5 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The TLX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 5 Series Sedan 540i/M550i 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 TLX doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The M550i 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 TLX.

The 5 Series 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 TLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 5 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 7.8 inches longer than on the TLX (117.1 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The 5 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the TLX’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the 5 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the TLX (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .74 average G’s).

Chassis

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The front grille of the 5 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The TLX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 540i is quieter than the TLX:

5 Series Sedan

TLX

At idle

38 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

68 dB

74 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/27

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 5 Series Sedan a Mid-size car, while the TLX is rated a Compact.

The 5 Series Sedan has 5.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the TLX (98.8 vs. 93.3).

The 5 Series Sedan has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 5 Series Sedan easier. The 5 Series Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.2 inches, while the TLX’s liftover is 27.5 inches.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 5 Series Sedan’s trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The 5 Series Sedan also offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper. The TLX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 5 Series Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the TLX. 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 TLX, the 5 Series Sedan 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 5 Series Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The TLX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 5 Series Sedan and the TLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 5 Series Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The TLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 5 Series Sedan’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 TLX’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 5 Series Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the TLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 5 Series Sedan has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The TLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades are optional in the 5 Series Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The TLX doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 5 Series Sedan offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the TLX.

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 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 TLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 5 Series Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 5 Series Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the TLX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 5 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the TLX because it costs $372 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 5 Series Sedan than the TLX, including $211 less for a starter, $224 less for fuel injection and $418 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/27

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Acura TLX by 46% during 2019.

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