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2006 BMW X3 vs Acura RDX



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...may be missing something about the SH-AWD setup."

    Well, frankly, no.

    The thing to remember is that the engine is always SOLIDLY coupled to the front differential, whereas any coupling to the rear wheels is always transient, or temporary.

    Torque is coupled to the rear during acceleration and/or deceleration, but how long can either of those situations be prolonged?

    Torque is also delivered to the rear during a turn, predominantly to the outside wheel, and even if you continue in a continuous turn the outside rear wheel, even absent extra torque delivery, would rotate at a higher rate than the rear inside rear wheel.

    So which end of the car ALWAYS has engine drive torque available...??

    The FRONT.

    Not that any of that matters insofar as the use of tire chains on the rear only is concerned. Were I willing to experiment I would use chains only on the rear but have
    a modification so I could close the rear clutches as long as the roadbed was slippery enough that driveline binding, wind-up, would not occur.

    With the rear driveline overdriven, a constant engine torque delivery to the rear on a high traction surface would soon result in driveline failure due to front/rear driveline binding/windup.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You're perfectly correct..!

    No one, ever, should ever have need for the use of tire chains.

    Doesn't that sound like a throwback to 1965? Have any of these people ever heard of modern winter tires like Blizzaks?

    I have no plans for winter tires on my RDX. I'll be in the Adirondacks at our friend's house in January. And if I can get up their steep dirt driveway (which is typically hardpack snow/ice by then) that will be the test. If the RDX with SHAWD fails that one - then I may go for winter tires. I'm confident that won't be necessary. I'm not in extreme winter driving conditions too often. If I faced them more regularly the winter tires would be a no brainer. I've had them on my last several RWD and FWD cars (Blizzaks, Goodyear Ultra G3's).
  • I was reading along and starting (again) to consider drinking the kool-aid. Then I go to your assertion that "both are pretty damn nice - nice ENOUGH."

    I fight (and I believe I am not alone) the concept of "good enough" or "good is the enemy of great" regularly (my company is in software development.)

    The subject of reliability is growing in importance (for me.) Yet, my 2005 Audi A6 and my wife's 2005 X3 have been reliable. But, as you would correctly point out -- we have but put 25,000 miles on them.

    I am a proponent of not driving a car beyond its warranty.

    But, as I also assume you would correctly point out -- it is our money.

    What I hope you want (what I hope we all demand, indeed) are cars that are both reliable and built to perform (in all ways) beyond "nice ENOUGH."

    The Infiniti, alone as far as I can tell, knocks on the European's door in terms of the feel behind the wheel.

    Reliability without great drivability -- isn't worth it (to me.)

    For, to me, the German reliability is "good ENOUGH" considering the way they perform in all other aspects.

    No, I am not willing to accept "good ENOUGH" with respect to drivability. And I do "demand" ever higher reliability -- and after 28 Audis, they continue to advance up the reliability ladder. For some, not fast enough (probably for most of us, in fact.)

    But, we seem to have reached a point in automotive evolution where you can have:

    1. Great performance and good reliability or

    2. Great reliability and good (nice ENOUGH) performance.

    Given those two black/white choices (and reality is certainly a shade of grey, I'll admit), well, I'll take door number 1.

    I also stopped with the Japanese watches -- but, then again, they certainly "tell time" accurately enough.

    There is just something about a Tag though that the Japanese haven't cracked either.

    And, it is my money.

    I will be, in 15 months, in the market again. I will look at both European and Japanese (and perhaps American) makes.

    At this point, the Europeans still lead in every way that counts (behind the wheel) for me.

    Takes all kinds. :surprise:
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The thing to remember is that the engine is always SOLIDLY coupled to the front differential, whereas any coupling to the rear wheels is always transient, or temporary.
    Torque is coupled to the rear during acceleration and/or deceleration, but how long can either of those situations be prolonged?
    With the rear driveline overdriven, a constant engine torque delivery to the rear on a high traction surface would soon result in driveline failure due to front/rear driveline binding/windup.

    As with any full time/permanent AWD system, front AND rear axles are always coupled in SH-AWD. The extent of distribution depends on the circumstances. This includes cruising, straight line acceleration, acceleration around a corner, deceleration, detection of loss of traction and, in case of MDX, hill grade logic will send 70% of torque to rear axle during uphill starts as well as hill climb acceleration regardless of traction and for as long as the vehicle continues to climb.

    BTW, the concept of overdriving wheels in SH-AWD applies only to the outer rear wheel during cornering, which makes sense for optimum traction.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Reliability without great drivability -- isn't worth it (to me.)

    Me too! Hence my preference for Hondas/Acuras. :)
  • nobody3nobody3 Posts: 27
    It is given that RDX is front biased (I don't think anyone is disputing that) and it is logical to have tire-chains in the front.

    I agree, using chains on the front wheels only is not a great idea (spin-outs). But I am yet to see any one using chains on AWDs. If one is really a big fan of chains (or on a rescue mission ) one may choose to use chains on 4 wheels.

    As I said before, it may be a big deal when it comes to handling on dry pavements but there is not much of a difference on snow. If anything, RDX has an edge (a little may be) as long as you don't use chains.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I carry chains in my FWD minivan in the winter but don't bother in the AWD wagon. Wwest and I have disagreed about the safety aspects of using chains before but I think the Montana snow he used to drive in was different from the Alaska snow I used to drive in. :shades:

    And as Patentcad1 mentioned, it's the tires that count anyway.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525

    If one had to use tire chains, ideal, of course, would be to put them on all four wheels. The second best option would be to put them on the front wheels (if the vehicle allowed only that, or one had only a single pair of chains). This allows for good grip on acceleration, good steering and good braking. But dealing with the rear end can be a challenge and part of it may be addressed by vehicle’s stability system (besides, not all traction is lost). And most of it will be handled by a cautious driver which would apply regardless of where the chains are fitted. Better yet, a set of snow tires would help immensely.
  • When you're done pontificating on the superiority of German Engineering (always capitalized of course) you might want to spend a week behind the wheel of an SH AWD Acura or an Infiniti sedan. The latter has actually beaten BMW's in comparison tests by leading car magazines. You can argue with those editors when you're done here. Easier said than done of course. I had one helluva time picking the RDX - waffled back and forth between the RDX and a Subaru Outback XT Ltd - very happy I settled on the Acura. But it was very tough specifically because you only GET 10 mins. behind the wheel of the cars you're interested in - when you really need several days or weeks. Which you only get to do if you're an editor @ Road & Track or Edmunds.

    The assertion that Audi's and BMWs with 25K miles are 'reliable' is a head scratcher, but then I figure ALL cars shouldn't break before they have 50K miles or so. But then if I drove Euro brands I'd NEVER venture beyond the factory warranty.

    In the meantime I'll try to figure out how you can ascertain the 'superiority' over a car you may have driven for ten minutes (if that). I drove Euro cars for 20+ years. Loved them even when some (Saabs) were total lemons. But I like my Acuras BETTER. In several respects. And that would INCLUDE the way they drive. I can assure you that I have at least as many hours behind the wheel of high zoot Euro imports as 90% of the participants on this board (dating back to 8 years as a full time Mercedes Benz sales rep from 1983-1991).

    All of which is academic. ALL these dopey cars are WAY overpriced, including my RDX. I couldn't AFFORD the friggin X-3 if I wanted it. Luckily for BMW, Audi et al there are enough affluent Americans with enough cashish left after paying for the crack they smoke to buy those posh sleds. Somebody has to : ). I know: I used to SELL those silly cars to consumers like you and me.

    Ach der lieber dude. Look at it this way. Those original Axis Powers (from WWII) are getting our greenbacks one way or another. Germany or Japan, same difference to a WWII vet...
  • nobody3nobody3 Posts: 27
    May be talking about winter driving on these vehicles is little off-track.

    We have to keep in mind that all these enhancements are mainly meant for improving the handling and safety at high speeds on dry pavements (may be little wet). Winter driving is just a side benefit.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you really mean "excessive" speeds on dry pavements then I couldn't agree more.

    On the other hand if by "high speeds" you mean those typically encountered, legal or a tad beyond, on US freeways and highways then it is my firm belief that any modern day RWD or even a FWD would be more than satisfactory.

    When I encounter adverse wintertime roadbed conditions my primary desire is to have the front "stearing" wheels dedicated to whatever lateral forces they encounter, period.

    Of a secondary issue is the ability to move the vehicle forward simultaneously and if an AWD system can still meet that criteria then fine.

    If the public at large never encountered wintertime, low traction roadbed, conditions, then there would be no need for RWD, let alone AWD or 4WD, and SH-AWD would not exist.

    The Porsche C4 and the like would more than suffice for those that need the excitement of (TRULY) excessive speed on dry pavements.
  • I've driven a ton of AWD cars, including Porsches. The SH-AWD is the first car I've driven where I can actually FEEL the AWD system kicking in to improve handling on dry pavement. You can really perceive that rear-torque distribution feature that Acura claims is unique to the SH-AWD. So did some of the road testers on the RDX and new RL....
  • nobody3nobody3 Posts: 27
    By high speeds I meant 60+ MPH on winding roads typically shown in the ads. (If you are in Germany (***BMW***) make it 80+ MPH)

    As pointed out, RWDs have over-steering issue (without chains of course). For people who don't want to use chains, like me, AWDs with front bias is slightly preferable for winter driving to avoid spin-outs. Of course, I'll choose any AWDs over FWDs or RWDs with or without chains. If it really warrants I'll go for winter tires.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, if you take any vehicle that is predominantly FWD, as is the RDX, and start "cranking in" corrective measures for the otherwise poor driving dynamics of this configuration during SPIRITED driving, you will most definitely FEEL the "torque to the rear" shift "kicking" in.

    But had you started out with a simple RWD configuration the driving dynamics would remain constant and easily exceed that of the RDX.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Very entertaining post...put a smile on my face...I like your writing style. :)
  • I don't mean to rain on anybody's parade. I was a Euro Car Nazi once myself. German cars only. But no longer.

    Whatever makes you happy mein kleine autobahn weenies. Es ist seine geld (that's German for it's your dough).
  • I have driven both of them and I am quite surprised that the RDX just kills the X3 in SPORT!!! The SH-AWD makes a lot of difference and the 4 cyl. turbo is so much fun. I love to push it to its redline and it also costs like what, 10k less than the loaded X3? It also has more torque than the X3 which is nice to have. I do have some things that I didn't like: I didn't get the fuel economy numbers posted by the EPA. It was in the high teens (17-18), but that's probably b/c i pushed it too much towards it redline! Also there are no rear AC vents and there is also no DVD player available! Also it has 10 less cu. ft. of cargo space the X3 and it is 20 hp shy of the X3.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I've been a Honda/Acura devotee almost all my driving life. But I have a BMW itch I need to scratch. The '07 X3 3.0 with the 6-sp step seems enticing. I may have to try being a German-car weenie to see if it is all that it's touted to be. :P
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I didn't like: the rather coarse-sounding turbo, stiff ride, lack of memory seats, foot parking brake.
  • The turbo is a bit coarse sounding, but that is somewhat subjective. Doesn't bother me.

    The ride is stiff. Compared to a Ford Freestyle. The RDX handles like a sports car in SUV clothing. I can live with that tradeoff.

    Lack of memory seats? Another relatively pointless feature to me. I'm always moving my seat around.

    I personally HATE center handle emergency brakes. Love the foot pedal.

    I just looked at the new Ford Edge on line. Too heavy, too slow, too pricey (similar pricing to Acura, a premium brand, they'll be giving them away soon like all their other cars). The RDX blows it away. And they wonder why American car manufacturers are sucking wind. Seems farily clear to me. Their cars usually SUCK.
  • Well, this is completely off-topic, but I'll play devil's advocate for a bit and defend the Edge, even though I'm quite happy with my CX-7.

    First of all, no offense, but you are probably in the minority when it comes to pedal emergency brakes and memory seats. To each his own.

    More importantly, the Edge is bigger than the RDX in almost every dimension. Not always incredibly so, but enough to prompt a closer look if we're talking about pound-per-pound value. I mean, you can option up a lot of vehicles to $34,000, but that doesn't mean they compete with the RDX. What I built on the Ford site for an RDX-ish price actualy had MORE content than a comparable Acura. There's no question which one is more luxurious, but again, I don't think the Edge is going to steal anyone away from Acura.

    You are right that the Edge won't be selling for MSRP for long (if ever). But at this point, neither is the RDX, or the CX-7. Good for us.

    I can't speculate on how "slow" the Edge will be. I haven't seen any numbers yet. I guess my point is, you never know. The RDX is quicker than it should be given its power and size, maybe the Edge will be too. Too early to call.

    All in all, I probably wouldn't buy one, but it's got "not being completely ugly" going for it, at least. ;)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    to put the Ford Edge up against the RDX would be by removing at least one front halfshaft and permanently coupling the rear driveline.

    Now, if Ford were to put the FEH/MMH hybrid drive in the Edge...

    That might be worth the effort.
  • People like those auto dimming rear view mirrors too. I personally HATE them for a number of reasons. Yet another pointless 'luxury' feature I can do without. Lucky for me since the RDX has an old fashioned flip the mechanical button day/nite mirror. I love it.

    Nothing is quite as entertaining as listening to car weenies whine about luxury features that cars don't have. 'Memory' on car seats? Whatever turns you on.
  • patentcad1,

    What do you hate about the auto dimming mirror? I was considering getting one, when I buy the RDX, since others seem to like them so much.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I love the one on my TL!
  • Personal annoyance. It's like a Veil of Darkness descending over my rearview mirror at night. If the lights behind me are that annoying the little mechanical switch does it for me. I don't find reaching up to flip it burns too many driver calories....
  • The "car weenies" (maybe I'm one of them) usually have lived with the so-called luxury features and enjoyed them so much that they can't live without them. I guess everybody has their pressure points that make things "necessary..."

    I used to think HomeLink was stupid, HID headlights were for upper-class twits, and auto A/C in a car was posh overkill. I can tell you now that I probably won't ever buy another vehicle without them...
  • The Silliest Feature of All Time award goes to Acura's voice command brain on its recent cars. I have this feature on my 2004 TL. The energy necessary to memorize spoken commands far exceeds pushing the buttons on the dash.

    But I'd agree that one man's superflous 'fluff' is another's 'can't live without'. Absolutely. I don't think Homelink is 'dumb' at all. Particularly the part where it dials '911' when your airbags deploy....
This discussion has been closed.