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Acura MDX vs BMW 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’ve owned a few Volvos and thought the comfort in those vehicles was great until the 530.

    I’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’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.
  • abmwfanabmwfan Posts: 47
    An old post, but whatever.

    "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)".

    The X5 is neither body on frame or cross-over. It's built on its own, unique platform. Not a dressed up truck or an over-weight sedan or a luxury SUV built on en economy car platform.

    The X5 was was designed and optimized to be exactly what it is.
  • abmwfanabmwfan Posts: 47
    "I've owned both and have to agree the mdx is better. 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."

    Wow. Your MDX caught on fire and you still think it's a better vehicle and more reliable. I would love to hear how you rationalize that.
  • rmccall95rmccall95 Posts: 2
    I owned a 2004 MDX, Touring, which included Nav, Backup cam, CD changer. Purchased used. Just traded it for a *used* 2007 X5 4.8i. This is my third Bimmer. Also own a 530i and a Z3. Am totally sold on BMW. I love the road handling of the Bimmer. The road feel is in a world by itself, at least in comparison with the MDX. After driving the X5, I got back in my MDX, and felt like I was riding on a marshmallow! I did not buy the X5 as a sports car - no 2.5 ton vehicle is going to handle like a roadster! Nevertheless, I really appreciate the road-feel in the BMW. Power in the X5 is more than enough for me! I have had to retrain my right foot, both in terms of acceleration, as well as braking, with the X5. I much prefer the RWD/4WD in the BMW to the FWD/AWD as implemented in the MDX. Granted, I have not had it in the snow yet, that will happen soon enough! Right now, it's 96 outside, and I am using the heck out of the AC.

    The MDX had a much better backup cam than the X5, kinda disappointing, actually, but that is not the primary reason I bought it. I am pleased with the navigation. I am a long-time GPS user, and as such, no factory nav system is gonna totally satisfy me. There are many features on the portable units that I really like. Having it integrated into the sound system, though, does certainly have its advantages.

    I really like the bluetooth implementation in the BMW. I am on call a good deal with my job, and having that hands-free, excellent sounding function, is very welcome to me.

    Comfort in the X5 is, in my opinion, excellent. Towing capability is 50% more with the X5 than what I had with the MDX. While I don't do alot of towing, it's certainly nice to have the power/vehicle structure/handling to do so when the need arises.

    I am very pleased with the switch. If I had driven an X5 before I bought my MDX, I never would have owned an MDX.
  • mrd4mrd4 Posts: 27
    See X5 discussion on
    It look like people are buying X5 made from China. No matter what, for such large purchase and long term investment. Quality and Reliabilty are most important factors also, even X5 overcome MDX on performace somehow, but overall people vote for MDX.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    FWIW Consumer Reports also ranks the MDX No. 1.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Over the past years, 30 or so, I have been so often turned off by the BMW & Mercedes salespersons showroom attitude that I no longer bother going to see the new models.

    So while I would vote the X5 well over the MDX I would still buy the MDX ahead of the X5.

    Given an relatively equal engine power a modern day R/AWD will ALWAYS have more rapid pickup that ANY F/awd vehicle, even the most stellar of those, the SH-AWD system. With R/awd the DBW system gain will cause RAPID engine response, but with the SH-AWD system the DBW gain/response must be compromised in order for the rear clutches to have enough time to reach the proper engagement level for the rate of acceleration commanded.

    Most other F/awd systems with elevated engine power capability ALWAYS compromise the DBW gain in lower gear/speed rates wherein front wheelspin/slip, sometimes DEADLY, is more likely to be encountered.

    Compromises not necessary with R/awd wherein wheelspin/slip, rear predominantly, will be meaningless, often even USEFULL, in a good, proper, driver's hands.
  • la_dudela_dude Posts: 6
    X5 is on the bottom of the list. :)
  • jtbazzjtbazz Posts: 3
    LOL, of course the opinion I gave is subjective. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I also own a BMW sedan and wouldnt trade it for anything in Acuras line but in this instance after driving both SUV's I personally feel the Acura is a better SUV for the price.

    My personal decision was based on test drive and family and friends who had massive problems with their X5's.

    Also, my personal preference is to have a sedan thats sporty and fun to drive and have an suv thats plush and comfortable. I love BMW's and think they are just about the best vehicle out there but this was better for my family and I.

    But thanks for your passion in your response, BMW should hire you! P.S...Its just a vehicle dude dont take this stuff so serious.
  • mrd4mrd4 Posts: 27
    "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."

    Be aware this guy's comments is highly skewed. He owned 7 X5s in past 10 years, which means he only drives each new X5 for less than 1.5 years on average. That's not the usually case we talk about reliability. In long run, X5 does have notorious fame for reliability.
  • lpac1lpac1 Posts: 1
    I own a 2000 Audi S4. I've had it for 11yrs and put on 170kmiles. I've put in about $8,000 in normal maintenance/repair over 11yrs (no accidents.) The original cost of the car was $39k. My thought was that I would drive the S4 for 15yrs. Well I hit a transmission issue and I decided to invest the money into a new car (that could hold a baby seat) vs put in another $4k in repairs into the Audi.
    I went with the 2011 Acura MDX after exhaustively reading reviews and noting that the MDX topped the list in US News, and several Luxury Suv w/ 3rd row comparisons. I'm very happy with my selection. The Acura is plenty fast (0-60 in 6.8sec) and handles well - tuned on the Nurburing circuit. I live in Michigan and drive to surrounding states where there is often a foot of snow on the ground and I am confident the Acura will slice up the snow with aplomb.
    It's a large SUV, it feels smaller than it is and you can really push it to the limits. This video is a good example of such:
    What also helped was my wife has a 2005 Honda Pilot LX with 100,000 miles on it. In 6yrs we spent less than $1,000 on maintenance. The Acura shares the same reliability DNA.
    The Acura MDX - I feel - is really targeted toward people who have a sports car in the garage but need to take the family out on long trips and who want low maintenance costs.

    My plan is that my wife will get the Acura MDX once her Honda hits 200,000 miles and then I'll get back into the sports car market - maybe a Audi TT RS.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My bet would be that by the time those 6 years elapse for your wife's car to reach 200,000 miles your MDX' transmission will have failed, maybe even twice.
  • uppoouppoo Posts: 2
    Just brought a 2012 MDX and prior to that I've checked out the Audi Q5 & Q7, Lexus RS, Infinity FX35, and drove my friend's 08 BMW X5:

    Q5: Feelings like a different class, more like a X3 instead.
    Q7: Lots of room, very nice exterior, but I've saw coupe of the CPO in the lot, looks like the interior is a bit cheap for the $ and worn out quick.
    Lexus RS: Takes regular gas, a big plus, but the interior dash board reminds me of ......Toyota camry?
    FX35: Best looking and very nice interior, great handling feels like a coupe sports car. But the cargo space and head room is very limited, feel more like a zdx or x6 alike.
    BMX x5: Even I owned a MDX, I've to say that MDX is compatibale except the handling. BMW still feels a bit more "solid" in high speed cursing on highway. Is the badge and the a bit better in handling worth $10,000 more? Not for me. But if I'm look for a $60k+ car, I'd probably look into porsche or Range rover instead.

    In summary, BMW handling is hard to beat, X5 vs. FX35 maybe?
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