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Acura MDX vs BMW X5



  • maybe a fresh perspective from someone in the market and reading this thread may help shed new light.

    The argument over performance is a bit off base here for a number of reasons on both sides. The way I look at it is that each person values performance differently. If you want it, its a higher prioridy. Performance, however, is not just a measurement of top speed so saying that just because you'll probably never reach X published top speed you shouldn't value performance is moot. I drive a performance sedan (530i) because I want to be able to pass with ease, and take off/on ramps at higher than normal (and suggested) speeds, among other things. I like the rush. Has nothing to do with my cars electronically limited top speed.

    Further, perfomrance SUVs are real and a real segment. No, they are not the same and will not stand up to performance sedans, coupes, or roadsters because they are bigger, bulkier, and heavier. That is not a reason to make a performance SUV. If you follow the logic that a performance SUV is an oxymoran, then you must only believe that the smallest pure-purpose vehicle (little roadsters I guess) are the only performance vehicles and every other vehicle labeled performance is a joke. Obviously not the case. And more obvious is the large amount of choices for performance SUVs. We here in America even race trucks at a professional level for crying out loud.

    Cornering, tire quality, brake quality...on an on. If you want performance, get performance.

    Someone earlier described to a tee the target market that Honda and Toyota were going after in creating their luxury brands. This is just a business fact. Someone else responded to it as an insult, stating they pay cash for all their cars or something to that effect. The fact surrounding the target market for Lexus and Infiniti is very relevant here. It couples with the parts bin, purpose built, and cost facts also. They knew they could cut costs and deliver a product that is close enough to have people on the internet argue over which is better. Some believe you "get what you pay for", others dont.

    Value is a relative term. I like the tight feel and responsiveness from steering wheel to road when it comes to my vehicle. Others dont care about that but do care that their leather has a name like "napa" (< see, someone will explain to me how it feels nicer or something and Im thinking "thats nice but I dont think I'll pay extra for it over regular leather").

    The bottom line is that anyone looking at an MDX/X5 (I throw the Lexus GX470/460 in here even though its technically not the same) has some decisions to make. Those that choose the japanese brand over the german brand most likely do so because of "value" reasons as it relates to how much they pay vs. what they got (and may not be related to what they didn't get). That is factual also.

    This is the internet. We can all claim that we are millionaires that own all these vehicles and money wasn't an issue in our decision. So be it.
  • To the person or x publisher that had an opinion about what some x publishers had to say, I feel the need to post my facts, as I feel the first paragraph was addressed to me, and If it wasn't then, I'm just gonna state my fact. I said in my statement and I'll say it again, no one will ever touch top speed in their bmw so to say you paid top dollar for your engine because it goes x amount of mph is useless which means you paid for an engine you will never use, I never stated preformance or ever stated to not value preformance, but since it was brought up, I'll state it, if preformace is what you want by all means do so, as I stated b4 it is your choice, but to bring up x amount of mph to another car is pointless unless you will touch the x amount of mph to state your opinion to be relevent, now this is just my say so, like it or not it is true.

    I believe if 1 wants to address an x publishers post to read first before judgements are made, fair arguments are always good cuz 1 gets to see and try to understand another persons point of view, and try to adjust 1 or 2 things about the post, but to try to explain in judgement form about x publisher this and that is poor taste, each publisher has a right to state or post what or who they know even if it's right or wrong, fact or fiction. So be it
  • I looked at both of these almost a year ago. I went with the X5 diesel. If you're willing to spend the extra money, you won't be disappointed with the X5d. We purchased ours and plan to keep it long-term. We've had a number of BMWs and no problems with them. Reliability has simply not been an issue. Of course, there will be those that have, but that's with every make. Acuras may be more reliable, but by how much? I LOVE my X5d. Every day I look forward to driving it. The Acura is nice, too, but not at the same level, imo. Also, I'm getting around 28-29 hwy, and 24 mixed driving, better than any of my BMW sedans I've had (5 series.)
  • Wow....u r really mad. I am sure you were typing standing up and angry. And it could be possible that you took a day off to write these responses......hahahaha.......just kidding.

    But I understand your concerns and the excellence of BMW. I myself drive an S4 and admire the German engineering (& its the same S4 which's been beating 335 for last few yrs now.....but no need to get into that). I tried selling it for Infiniti G37 or BMW 335, but couldn't (had terrible experience with 3 series in the past).

    I've had an MDX and X5 4.8xi both. I was recently shopping for new SUV and test drove these two plus Rangerover sport and Cayenne. I just got a new Cayenne S. About the two in question, I think X5 is in the same class of MDX and I needed a step up from both. Moreover, X5 3.0 didn't feel any special to me over MDX. The electronic gadgets in MDX were much more sophisticated than X5. The I-drive system is dumbass system, period. The sound system in MDX is better and so is the roominess and smooth ride. MDX was pretty responsive but X5 is better in that, period, you wre right there. X5 had tighter body feel and yes you are right about less road noise (but not by much) but overall not a step higher than MDX. There's no one criteria which makes one SUV better than the other, its the matter of satisfaction.

    You can create micro-levels of luxury SUVs (just like I did) but that's not the discussion. Read magazines, see websites, Acura is a luxury brand with one of highest technology and reliability, industry compares it to any other luxury brand, with BMW's, Porsches etc etc, they can't be blind. The discussion is which SUV satisfies your needs or wants.

    Another example, X5 is a good sports german engineered activity vehicle. But why didn't you buy a Porsche Cayenne? Its better than X5 in all those driving dynamics, luxury factors, prestige and even reliability (check JD power etc etc). Just like you are trying to prove your purchase to be right, the previous guy was doing the same, again human nature. And he was right in the case of body on frame vs crossover like SUVs (in which lexus was the first------you were wrong and get over it). He bought an MDX, is happy with it and so r u with X5. Every car company has a gem model. BMW's known for 3 series not X5, Acura's known for MDX, not TSX.

    And yes, I do have experience with cars and SUVs aside from highways. Race? that's what I've been doing since I started driving, so anytime.....!

    I was here to see what people think about the comparisons of SUVs, not to hear brand fans.

    Hope you enoy your X5 for a long time....!

    Cheers.....good times.......!
  • I own both and they are totally different animals.
    I have driven both in a blizzard and both served me well.
    Neither of them will lose footing and they are rock solid.
    You would experience lag time on an MDX, when trying to pass someone and often that would leave you second guessing and over time you would lose confidence in MDX.

    X5 on other hand is in sync with your mind and is very responsive, there is no second guessing at all.
    I agree X5 is expensive, but you get bang for every single buck.
    MDX is good for hauling kids to practice and for Costco trips.

    They both win in respective price range. I will keep my X5 4.4i any day even though its 5 years older than MDX.

    Me in X5 = :-)
    Me in MDX = :-|
  • We just sold our 07 X5 4.8i and got a MDX with the Advance and Entertainment packages. As much as we liked the X5, it had some issues that might just be attributable to being a first year model or a dealership that can't distinguish their [non-permissible content removed] from a hole in the ground, but they claim the vehicle was "confused" in terms of how the transmission downshifted when coming to a stop and how it would sometimes think we wanted to drag race the Camry in the next lane when pulling off from a stop because both me and my wife drove the vehicle and had apparently different driving styles. The I Drive is also not great (but better on the updated ones) and the Nav system is horrible compared to Honda/Acura. Here is how I see it:
    Pros for the BMW:
    Cache of the Brand (which is worth exactly nothing)
    Driving Dynamics
    Doors have more of quality feel when closing
    No timing belt to replace
    Real wood in the interior (although the 2010 and newer MDX looks like real wood compared to the 2007-2009 ones)

    Pros for the Acura
    Does not require 3 days in the shop to reprogram the control unit so the electric glovebox will open (yes, this really happened)
    AWD system is better and in the curves does have a more locked down feeling (I drive aggressively)
    Transmission shift quality is much better (see my problem listed above)
    Third row is more practical
    Voice Controls actually are logical and easy to use
    Better resale value- at least locally
    Much better ride quality in comfort mode
    Much better audio system (big factor for me, not so much for the kids)
    Better Bluetooth integration

    Overall, the BMW has real potential, but they from a feature to feature standpoint charge about $15000 more for the same vehicle, and that's reflected in resale values.
  • "Where I live, the MDX is a mini van for soccer moms and grocery stores and are driven from point A to B by people who don't care about driving skill or driving experience. It's just a shiny mass hauler for the upper middle class. If I ever were in the market for a mini-van, I'd certainly consider the MDX."

    I'd have to say both of these vehicles are for upper middle class soccer mommies. Not sure if things are different in other parts of the country, but here in TX I see mostly women driving both the MDX and the X5. Both can be considered today's luxury minivan.
  • kfourkfour Posts: 4
    I bought the new MDX a few months ago (3 little kids, occ'l long trips). It's a nice car, but hard to justify the dismal mileage for my daily driver and we decided to get a trailer to pull for trips. I traded in for 2011 X5d and am much happier. Only 500 miles; idrive is less intuitive, but better than acura once you get used to it, plays music from iphone with better quality (premium sound pkg), 3rd row a little tighter, but for kids no problem and the second row seat movement to get back to 3rd row is much easier (can leave kid seat strapped in and just tilt second row forward). I get over 30mpg at 70mph and it's just plain fun to drive, much more connected to the road. Here is one vote for BMW.
  • jdoriajdoria Posts: 7
    On the money.

    The more I read this, the less likely I am to go buy this MDX. Really, just call a spade a spade. I wanted it because it had a good navigation, a BS 3rd row seat, and was cheap, no other real tangible reason.

    I love the people who cry about reliability. Who cares if the car breaks, they come pick the car up, fix it, and give you another while you are waiting. I cant say I have been stranded in the past decade from a fault in one of my "premium" cars. Buy a true premium car form a store where you are treated like a human and not cattle and you'll change you tune.

    We were going to get an 11 X5 until we saw the rear cargo room with the 3rd seat up. So I looked at the QX56, which Im likely to buy on Sat.
  • sjaievesjaieve Posts: 252
    edited October 2010
    I am also in the market for an SUV and had settled for the MDX because its more reliable and its got more bang for the buck. Now here is my problem. I also have a G37 which is one of the best sports sedans at its price point. I am very familiar with the arguments re: Luxury brand vs Entry Lux brand when comparing a 328i to the G37. Now its purely nonsense to say a 328i will offer Luxury at any scale beyond the G37 given these cars arent that expensive in the first place, hell a minivan can be had for more than each of the two depending on the options. However, at the MDX and X5 level, this argument becomes much more relevant to me at least. We are talking 50k+ for a very well equipped X5/MDX. I can pay 40k for a car that has common parts with a cheaper Nissan (370Z), but 50k+ for a Pilot derived SUV, now thats a tough pill to swallow. I am not saying the MDX does not drive well, neither am I saying it doesnt have a great interior etc, but for the kind of money we are talking about not sharing parts with cheaper models becomes very relevant IMO.

    Right now I am leaning towards the X5 35i for the reasons above, I will keep my G37 for driving pleasure and the X5 for "brand cache". However, I need to see if the HPFP issue arises on the N55 as well in the 2011s.

    And then of course there is this issue - - ars_over_f.html?rss_id=Top+Stories :P

    A Porsche Cayenne is probably the better way to go but you cant beat the BMW deals on the X5
  • guy2watchguy2watch Posts: 5
    edited December 2010
    Guys - after following quite a few threads and reading many posts I did what I really wanted to do (and could have)

    I will be honest here - I thought about both X5 and MDX and the reason I went with MDX is plain and simple - it did cost me less then what X5 would have. My criteria was simple - fun SUV with 6 to 7 seats, bluetooth connectivity, reasonable gas mileage/stereo and not over my budget (MDX fulfilled these with less money compare to X5)

    So, to cut it short - I would say both are good in their own leagues and it all comes down to your priorities. Depending on which, you try to justify your vehicle

    At the end of the day picture this - You won a million dollar that you could only spend on car which one would you buy ? (price, mileage, brand, etc. wouldn't really come into the picture I'm sure) and like someone above pointed out everyone would get a car that they can afford and will do anything/everything to justify it. (human nature !)

    P.S. - I'd have gone for the costliest one if had a million to spend on (if that confirms anything)

    Let's enjoy our respective rides :)
  • I own an 07 MDX with Sport and Ent Package and a Cayenne GTS (Manual). The MDX is our haul around the 3 kids car and the GTS is the fun driving Mom and Dad go to dinner car. If I could take the interior tech from the MDX and place it in the Cayenne GTS, I would have the perfect car. Our MDX now has 60k miles and is going strong. It still feels new (except for the smell of gold fish and cheese sticks from the car seats). I thought I would be ready for a new car by now but am sticking with it. I can't find a reason to swap it out. We had the car in for a 60k mile service and drove a 2011 MDX loaner for a weekend trip. Could not really tell the difference. My MDX still drives like it did in 07. No wonder why the resale value is so high. The only thing that really bugs me about the MDX vs the x5 is that the X5 (with all the cool options at least) looks so much better. The MDX is OK looking at best. Not sure who designed the grills for Acura, but they should be fired. Just looks wrong. My advice is if you are going to drive kids around, go with the MDX. If you are going to be "seen", go with the BMW with the fancy sport options.
  • jtbazzjtbazz Posts: 3
    edited February 2011
    I have owned many high end vehicles and I think what everyone is forgetting on this forum is that the MDX and the BMW x5 are both SUVs. Most people are buying one of the two because they have a family.

    I own a Porsche 911 and that has a fun factor to it, both these SUVs are designed to be safe family movers.

    I have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of both these vehicles and anyone who says the BMW is a better or a more fun car to drive is being blinded by what they consider the presitge of the brand.

    Anyone buying an SUV would most likely have a main goal of reliability and safety. Both these cars are extremely safe but lets be honest, BMW's are hit or miss in the reliability arena. For the first 3 or 4 years that doesnt matter but if anyone plans on keeing the vehicle past that point you may get into a dangerous gamble with the BMW.

    I am not bashing BMW's, I love them and owned an M5 which i consider the greatest sports sedan ever made. But when I bought it I knew after 3 years I would get something else so reliability was never a factor.

    I am going on record right now saying neither the MDX or the X5 are fun to drive vehicles, they are comfortable and easy to drive vehicles that are both enjoyable. They are very very similar in all aspects. One is extremely reliable and the other has that prestige factor for those who feel they need it. When you get past the point in your life when you dont need a badge to define you, things become clearer.

    In the SUV world the honest answer is the Acura is the better choice. There is a huge price difference between the 2 vehicles when comp equiped and the Acura does most things better.

    If you look at both these vehicles for what they are and put the badge aside I cant see how someone with any experience with both these vehicles could disagree.

    Again, this is an unbiased review but thought that this forum deserved an honest answer.

    Acura advantages:

    AWD system much better
    Stereo much Better
    Real leather and not "leatherette" standard
    standard third row
    Navigation much better
    Reliability Much better
    Standard technology much better in Acura
    Handling is a tie
    Power is a tie
    Safety is a tie
    Acura has better resale value
  • I've owned both and have to agree the mdx is better.

    I would add the following in favor of the mdx:
    Gas mileage
    Doors open wider
    Bigger trunk area
    More console area
    Better tech/entertainment configuration
    Actually has a spare tire

    I just wish my mdx hadn't started smoking from the center console and that Acura hadn't told me it was nothing even though the fire department responded and confirmed the smoke smell. I'd still be happily driving the mdx if that hadnt happened.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited February 2011
    "..Acura advantages.."

    "..AWD system much better.."

    In your dreams...!

    First, let me assure you that BMW was removed from my shopping list many years ago.

    But BMW's R/awd system will ALWAYS outperform ANY F/awd system, even the best of the BEST, the SH-AWD system.

    Since wheelspin/slip cannot be forecasted, predicted, the SH-AWD system MUST remove engine drive torque from the front wheels at anytime the engine torque level rises high enough than wheelspin/slip "might" result. Along with the high engine torque problem we have the threat of loss of directional control should to much engine torque, MODERATE engine torque, be applied to the front wheels when in a turn, especially a TIGHT turn.

    In a turn the SH-AWD system operates inversely to the common knowlege existing for many years in the 4WD world. Any experienced 4WD owner/driver will tell you that it is UNWISE, in the extreme, to have engine drive to the front and rear on a highly traction surface, most especially so when turning.

    But these F/awd systems such as the SH-AWD system have little choice. In order to reduce/alleviate some of the risk of loss of directional control when turning due to ALL the engine torque being routed to the front, some of that torque MUST be reapportioned to the rear.

    4WD mode, "center diff'l" LOCKED, on a perfectly dry, highly tractive surface.

    Shear IDIOCY.

    So, regardless of the level of roadbed traction the SH-AWD system MUST re-apportion engine torque to the rear in the above conditions.

    You may have noticed the inordinant level of driveline component failures in the early MDX's with the VTM-4 F/awd system...??

    Those clearly resulted from STRESS and HEAT of driveline components due to "AWD" mode engagement of the "center diff'l" even on the highest tractive roadbed surface you might encounter.

    If I were to somehow find myself owning an MDX the first thing I would do is disable the rear drive clutches except if/when I expected to be driving on low traction conditions.

    Bottom line: If you truly need "AWD" wintertime functionality then look to the 4runner or even the Lexus LX or GX, or any R/awd system.
  • jtbazzjtbazz Posts: 3
    edited February 2011
    From a tecnhical standpoint I am not nearly as knowlegable as you but I drove them both in the snow and the BMW was not anywhere near as sure footed in my opinion.

    This is just my interpretation, I have been wrong before.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    When you use too much power for conditions in the MDX you lose directional control, with the X5 you can still stear.
  • nibsnibs Posts: 65
    Looking at a capable AWD suv and the X5 is at the top of my list. I currently have a 530XI and love the linear pull of the engine that is matched to a smooth 6 speed. The Bimmer has comfort seats that I would not do without, plus all powered options. For a person that is 6ft, 200+ lbs, the size of the seats, level of adjustment, telescoping steering make all the difference in the world. I&#146;ve owned a few Volvos and thought the comfort in those vehicles was great until the 530.

    I&#146;ve also test driven Acura, Lexus, Mercedes and the best the domestics can offer and nothing can match those seats nor the sporty feel that my car gives me. I find the Japanese products have short, narrow seats in comparison and that does not suit me or support me. So, bottom line for me is comfort, great drive ability, additional options, MPG and customer service.

    I&#146;d pick the BMW over the Acura. One thing I do note though is that the stack of the Acura is too cluttered with buttons. Not for me. BTW, tires are everything and not all respond the same on different vehicles.
  • ibengineeribengineer Posts: 1
    This is a silly post. Who comes to pick you up when your car breaks down? And whose time and money are being lost? Not the "premium car store". You must have plenty of time and money to burn.

    I've had three Acuras. They don't have the badge prestige that other brands do, but I don't pay thousands of dollars for badges. They are reliable and the dealer takes care of me as well as my Lexus dealer does. The '12 MDX will be my next purchase.
  • abmwfanabmwfan Posts: 47
    edited June 2011
    This is an older post, but I'm going to reply anyway because most of this post is subjective, unsubstantiated misinformation. The claim that the MDX is "more reliable" is refutable. Reviewing recent JD Power 3-year reliability numbers, Acura had 1.4 defects per vehicle while BMW had 1.6. There is no significant difference between the two. You will not have 1.4 or 1.6 defects. Either way, you're likely to have a defect or two repaired under warranty.

    7 of my 15 BMWs have been X5s and I haven't had a single problem with any of them except for the very first model in 2001. On the other hand, the Acura that I owned was a horrifically unreliable piece of junk that I traded after 8 consecutive monthly trips to the service bay. So objective information and my substantial personal experience tell me that that the reliability claim claim is faulty.

    People who say the MDX gets better mpg than the X5 also are dead wrong. Comparing 2011 6 cyl models, the X5 gets better mpg according to That's even though the X5 is faster and heavier. Making a faster, heavier vehicle more fuel efficient is a nice feat of engineering. Then you also have the option for a diesel with better performance and significantly better mpg.

    Then we have posters who whine about BMW prestige. What you will find is that polls of BMW owners put prestige at the bottom of the list. They put the driving experience at or near the top. BMW consistently has catered to buyers who want to be engaged in the driving experience. I'm sure there are many superficial, status-conscious BMW owners, but BMW ownership tends to be more about driving dynamics than prestige. And frankly, if it were about prestige, BMW is entry level prestige at best in wealthy regions, so it's not exactly worthy of envy.

    For the assertion that the X5 and the MDX are pretty much the same vehicle sold to the same market (families), that also is incorrect. If you want to make that assertion, you have to say "which X5" because there are several. The reality is that BMW caters to a buyer that customizes the vehicle to his/her driving style. 80% of BMWs are custom ordered. Your X5 can be delivered in as little as 3 weeks from the factory extensively customized: 4 engine choices, 3 types of seats, suspension choices, multiple leather choices, electronics, trim packages, wheel packages, with/without roof racks, and on and on.

    Acura sells the MDX to buyers who want to pick a color and then drive off the lot with a vehicle that looks like every other MDX on the road. The only choice Acura gives you is upgraded electronics/stereo. While it is true that the MDX is sold to families (it's the soccer mom minivan brat hauler in my region), how many families do you know who haul their kids around in a 555 hp SUV?

    Readers should ignore posters who make statements like "In the SUV world the honest answer is the Acura is the better choice." That subjective statement was made by someone who doesn't distinguish subjectivity from objectivity. Whether something is "better" depends on the buyer's requirements.

    If you're a buyer whose requirements are not generic, the MDX will be a disappointment. If you require an SUV that comfortably drives you to a parent-teacher conference while you hold your cell phone to your ear (because you can't figure out how to make a Bluetooth connection) and simultaneously change your kid's diaper, then the MDX would be a fine choice.
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