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2006 BMW X3 vs Acura RDX



  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I strongly suspect the editors just missed a typo. It's probably supposed to be 40/60, rather than 60/40.

    It's just the "what if" scenario that gives me a giggle.
  • "The bias ratio characteristic of the Torsen differential instantly reacts [realtime, by another name] to unequal traction conditions by delivering an increased amount of torque to the drive wheel having better traction before the other drive wheel exceeds the limit of traction available to that wheel (before wheel slippage, i.e.) The bias ratio characteristic also remains substantially constant over a wide range of torque conveyed by the differential, and is not sensitive to changes in ambient temperature or conditions of vehicle use."

    Perhaps this is what you are looking for to quench you thirst for information:

    TorSen Tech Talk
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Matt Davis gives the 2007 X3 a rave review in the lastest issue of Winding Road. (Didn't know this on-line mag existed until a few days ago.)

    With the new engine and 6AT, they clocked 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. Certainly more competitive with the RDX than the earlier engines. Overall, his opinion was something like, "More mature driving dynamics that the original," or something like that.
  • We drove into the BMW dealership yesterday in a 2005 X3 3.0 manual transmission (with the sport package and all other options avail in 2005.) The car was there for a trim piece replacement that had somehow faded.

    While we were there, our salesperson threw us the keys to a new X3 3.0si -- all options, save nav and a 6 speed AUTO.

    We know the routine: go up (and later down) BMW Hill as we call it, go onto I71 and accelerate to a high 2 digit speed or maybe a low 3 digit speed if traffic is light.

    We got OUT of a perfectly fine 225HP X3 and IN to an also perfectly fine 260HP X3.

    The suspension must be recalibrated for less harshness, similar fimrness, similar sticky-ness and the chassis or the insulation or something has been calibrated to further mute the road, engine and wind noise (which was already pretty low in the 2005.)

    The car had 65 miles on it.

    It was "wicked quick." Exceeding expectations quick -- and remember we drove in a 6 speed MANUAL X3 with the sport set up, so we had high expectations.

    The transmission in first and second gear held well into the power curve of the engine. We tried it in both D and S modes -- hell S mode held the gears on acceleration much longer and downshifted crisply "just about the point" where one more second would have been too long to wait.

    This car, like ours, had the Servotronic steering ($250) -- and the beefier "M" steering wheel, yep, slightly thicker and meatier than our 2005 Sport Steering Wheel.

    Even at 65 miles on the OD this was one horse that was limber, ready to romp. At full cry, the engine revved to well above 6,000 RPM. At 5000 miles I can only imagine the strong power pull would become a plus size.

    The chassis, suspension, engine and transmission are now all on the same team, and all receiving their instructions from the same coach -- simultaneously.

    The X3, already car like, is now a car that just happens to have some utility and some off road talent (as witnesses, my wife and me, recent graduates of the two-day BMW X driving school in SC.)

    Now, to the interior and a little bit, the exterior.

    This was, at $47K minus sat nav, but otherwise, it seemed to have had all the option boxes checked. Who orders such a thing? Were you to deck one of these guys out to $47K would you NOT want navigation? I mean, it is not like you ordered a strippie and put ONLY nav on it -- and, in a odd way, even that seems more like a car that would be easier to sell than a fully loaded one without nav.

    Of cours, no one at the dealer responsible for such decisions consulted with me.

    Anyway, the new dash, the new materials are now on par with the other BMW's on the show room floor.

    Softer plastics, more wood -- every where you look or touch is smoother, more upscale looking, more befitting a nearly $50K BMW.

    BMW may not have all the electronic gizmos the RDX has, for instance, but its new underwear and move from the GAP to Ralph Lauren make it competitive in the looks department. And, with respect to the electronics, the only thing missing, oddly, is voice command of the telephone, sound system and navi controls (were the vehicle so equipped, that is.)

    Otherwise, the BMW does everything the way you want it once the light turns green.

    This new engine, tranmission and new set of clothes goes a long long way to answering the question "where's the additional $10,000?" (which is the difference between the RDX and the X3 similarly equipped.)

    Now, if they put the engine from the new 335 coupe/sedan in this guy, well, "sign me up!"

    This evolution, er, transformation, is one of the most significant changes I have ever had the pleasure to see (and feel) happen.

    You must test drive one of these if an SUV-lite vehicle is anywhere on your radar screen. Somehow, too, this car actually has better rear seat seating than the 3 series (and, btw, the X3 now has heated REAR seats available, too.)

    Were out of the market for about 12 or 13 months, but this -- today -- would be a no brainer for my wife and it actually would be a consideration for me, if you asked me the question NOW. We'll see what happens in 12 months.

    The cool thing is there is no reason the "35" turbo engine cannot be made for the new X3.

  • I test drove a 2007 RDX in Sept. At the time I had a 2005 x3 2.5 loaner that I drove for 2 weeks. The RDX was wonderful but We are getting a 2007 X3. No question, I liked the ride, handling and ergonomics of the BMW.
  • I'm a big BMW fan. I leased a 2001 BMW 540i for three years, loved the car, zero problems. I've been driving an Acura RDX for three weeks now. All this talk about rear biased vs. front biased AWD: on the Acura SH-AWD system, don't worry about it. The RDX feels as if it's carved from a single piece of aluminum billet, the handling is UNREAL. I personally prefer the Acura interior/ergonomics to BMWs (I have a 2004 TL as well). Very subjective. The handling of the RDX is nothing short of astonishing. Read the magazine road tests, which essentially confirm my observations.

    What's not subjective is the price. I paid $33k for a base RDX. Amazing car. A bargain in my view. The X3? A tad more cargo room, but otherwise similar in interior space. Worth an extra $5-$8K? It's your dough. I have two Acura cars and a Honda motorcycle in my garage. Very happy. This from a guy who drove nothing but European cars (BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Saab, Volvo) for the better part of 20 years.

    So spend the extra money. You'll get a BMW, but you won't get Honda reliability.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Yes, you've made a wise choice, but the big question is, can you beat an M5 around a racetrack? :P ;)
  • >>but the big question is, can you beat an M5 around a racetrack? <<

    Why would I ever be on a racetrack? I race bicycles not cars. Though racing cars might be a bit safer : ).

    BMW doesn't have to 'consider being afraid' of cars like the RDX. They're BMW already. They sell half their cars on the sheer mojo of the little badge on the hood. Plus they're lovely cars - overpriced or not. And they're not overpriced if car weenies will pay for them.

    I personally think the X3 isn't nearly as nice as the RDX - and costs more. But that's quite subjective. And if your X3 makes you happy that's sort of all that matters.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Don't mind me, my friend. That was just a bit of an "inside joke". There was a bit of a "discussion" earlier on one of these X3 topics (I don't even remember which one. May even have been this one), where someone commented that an X3 can beat an M5 around a track, or something to that effect.

    I wasn't trying to imply anything negative about the RDX. It's a nice rig. I don't have one, nor an X3, yet, although I admit I do have a fondness for anything BMW. I currently drive a TL.

    Happy motoring with the RDX! :)
  • Let me paraphrase something my buddy the bicycle shop owner said about high end racing bikes: 'Once you get over $3000, none of it sucks.'

    Same thing for cars over $30K for the most part, BMW's and Acuras included.
  • jrynnjrynn Posts: 162
    I'm a big BMW fan. I leased a 2001 BMW 540i for three years, loved the car, zero problems. I've been driving an Acura RDX for three weeks now. ... The X3? ... Worth an extra $5-$8K? It's your dough. ... So spend the extra money. You'll get a BMW, but you won't get Honda reliability.

    I'm a little unclear on why you'd give the edge to "Honda reliability" when you say your BMW had "zero problems" during your three-year lease.

    If anything, based on my own BMW/Acura experience, I'd lean towards BMW. My X3 has required no unscheduled maintenance during its first year. My TSX, in contrast, spent weeks in the shop during its first year with two MAJOR safety problems: a driver's seat that slid during normal braking, and a seatbelt that would neither extend nor retract.

    Your experience and my experience are but a small sample, but neither suggests that Acura has a reliability edge, especially when the RDX is in its first year of production.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I think, in general, both anecdotally, and documented, Honda/Acura is more reliable than BMW. But the fact the the RDX is in its first year, whereas the X3 is "matured" model may even things out somewhat.
  • pammhpammh Posts: 1
    I've owned Acura cars for the past 8 years and currently own an RSX-Type S, which I love but my lifestyle has changed. This past weekend, I went car shopping and test drove the Mazda CX-7, Acura RDX and the BMW X3, fully prepared to love the RDX. However, I was really disappointed in it -- I thought the back seat area was awkward to enter if you're a bit older, as I am, the navigation screen was hard for me to view without taking my eyes from the road for more than a second, and it didn't "wow" me. However, when I drove the BMW X3, I was totally wowed, even though it doesn't have all of the same standard features. When I priced out the RDX and X3 with my options, there was only about a $3K difference. I've gone ahead and ordered the X3, which I'm thrilled about.

    The car I was impressed with for the money was the Mazda CX-7. I thought it offered several standard features that neither the RDX or X3 offered for a lot less money. I thought the navigation system was better than the RDX and it has a keyless entry and ignition. I thought that was cool. Plus, you release the rear seats with releases easy to get to from the back rather than on the seats themselves. I also thought the storage area in the back was better than the RDX.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    In my brief test drive of the RDX, I found the backseat fairly comfortable. But then again I'm not a big, tall person. However, I found the ride really stiff, almost uncomfortably so. I thought the turbo was kind of noisy, the power was good, but not exactly awe-inspiring. While it had lots of hi-tech toys, I thought it fell short in some of the luxury amenitie -- no seat memory, no power passenger seat, so-so leather quality.

    I would be inclined to give up some of the tech toys (ie. nav, DVD audio) and opt for the X3 instead. (Not that the X3 doesn't offer a nav, but I would have to forgo it to keep the price down :cry: ).
  • I'm not concerned about a car's reliability while it's under warranty - I no longer lease cars. I buy them and KEEP them for 5-10 years. I want a car to deliver good reliability when it has 80-200K miles. And that's where Euro cars get stupid expensive compared to Hondas. Our Volvo was GREAT. Until it had 130,000 miles. FIVE THOUSAND BUCKS in relatively minor repairs over the last 18 months (30K miles) we owned the car. Never again.

    If you lease your cars or keep them for <4-5 years: great, get a BMW. If you're in my position that's not a viable option. Too expensive to keep them on the friggin road. What's this based on? An overwhelming amount of anecdotal stories like 'I drove my Honda 200K miles and all I did was change the oil'. They simply do NOT BREAK as frequently as the Euro cars. And when they do they're cheaper to repair.

    I have a kid to put through college in a few years. I need the money for that. Not for $1200 air conditioning condensers in Volvos or BMWs. The Volvo A/C took a crap with 150K miles. Ever hear of a Honda or Toyota needing that part? Yeah, right, me neither.
  • I looked at the CX- and read 3-4 road tests. My impressions:

    Nice exterior styling (better looking than the RDX in my view) but very cheesy interior compared to the RDX.

    Slightly larger cargo area.

    Much crummier handling/accelleration, no comparison. MUCH more turbo lag.

    Overall Acura quality is a considerable notch above Mazda's.

    I test drove one. The cars are on different planets. Sorry. Drive them both and let me know what you think.

    The RDX is worth the higher price.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "..but very cheesy interior..."

    Agreed. The interior may be more comparable to a CR-V's or RAV4's.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    To be fair, the CX-7's interior is pretty stylish. It's just not made from the same materials and doesn't have quite the same level of detail.

    The BMW seems to have the old-world luxury thing going for it. Though, I find the heavy "leather-grain" pattern on the dash a bit much. While the material IS very nice, it LOOKS like industrial rubber. Meanwhile, the real leather on the seats is obviously the best of the bunch. This based on the 2006 model I last rode in.

    The RDX went techno instead of old-world. Although carbon fibre is not in use, it has the look of a vehicle which would use it. Instead of the BMW's leather pattern on the dash, the RDX uses a pattern which resembles the rip-stop material from a backpack. Certain materials are definitely top notch, but then things like the mirror controls appear to come from a lesser vehicle's parts bin.
  • nobody3nobody3 Posts: 27
    Thanks to robertsmx and markcincinnati for all the details.

    One thing I notice is that x-drive has one multi-plate clutch whereas SH-AWD has two at the rear unless I'm mistaken. See the video below, it's quite interesting.

    It looks like, while cornering x-drive sends the torque to front wheels to avoid over-steering since it is rear-biased. Whereas in RDX, the torque is sent to the outer rear wheel (up to 70%) to avoid under-steering since it is front-biased. Distribution between right and left seems to be an advantage.

    On a potentially unrelated topic, last winter, during one of my trips to a ski area, the road was open initially for AWDs and non-AWDs with chain. But then the road was closed after a few spin-outs (fish tails) and we had to wait. When they reopened, they allowed only AWDs. I could go thru safely, thanks to engine brakes. Unfortunately, quite a few (rwd)BMWs with chains were not allowed to go. My take is, RWDs may be very bad on snow without chains (fish tail) but with chains they are better than FWDs.

    Ski-season is pretty close. Can't wait.
  • tenmactenmac Posts: 15
    The more I look at the GM versa track the better it looks technologically. The quality of design and durability are another q entirely!
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