Last post on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:53 AM
You are in the Acura RDX
What is this discussion about?
Acura RDX, BMW X3, Car Buying, SUV
#31 of 327 Re: Great Competition [timmboj]
Aug 23, 2006 (10:31 am)
I did take an extensive test drive of an RDX with the Technology Package ($37K.)
My wife's 2005 X3 was MSRP'd $47K.
If the RDX had a 6 speed auto and a manual offering, were I BMW, I would be "concerned."
We had the luxury, so to speak, of driving four identical test loops in the RDX (2 with the sound system on, 2 off.)
We had the luxury, likewise, of arriving and departing in the X3.
We took the RDX to 95MPH. It is pretty good up to 80MPH and it is not bothered at 95MPH. It is winded a bit earlier than we would like -- but then again it is $10K less than the BMW.
The one we drove had the 18" wheels. Our X3 has the sport package and it handles much better. But, you have to push the envelope to notice how much better the X3 is -- and although it is easily better, it is debatable if it is $10K better for most folks.
Our X3 has the stick, the RDX had the five speed auto which is overdriven in 4th and 5th.
The sound system in the Acura was to be worshipped.
The seats in both cars are good, the X3's more supportive but the Acura's more comfortable on the first two loops of a four loop test drive.
The interior (dash) of the RDX is much more upscale than the 2005 X3, not so much though when you look at the upgraded 2007 X3.
A bit of a [turbo?] lag in the RDX, but it could be driveline lash -- it is pretty minor if it is lag.
The AC system in the Acura isn't as capable of keeping the back seat cool, but this car had the black leather interior and our X3 is terracotta.
It was a very humid day, and to keep the car cool, we had to run the AC at 67 degrees -- the BMW can be left at 70.
There was some body roll in the RDX, but overall a very stiff chassis is underfoot and underbutt.
The Acura was a bit lower in road noise.
The brakes in the BMW are much better, the Acura's while easily modulated felt spongy on our simulated panic stop from 40MPH (part of our test regimen.)
The Navigation system in the Acura was very good, better than the BMW's in terms of its ability to use both a touch screen and voice commands (the BMW has neither.)
The handling in a circle indicated that the BMW can go faster in a circle with the wheel locked all the way to the left than can the Acura which gets a bit tippy feeling while BMW just seems like it would have its tail break loose -- the BMW is perfectly balanced that is.
If you had 25,000 miles under your belt with a high zooted X3 and drive the RDX, you WILL BE impressed but you will note the BMW is still a higher performance car in every aspect and a notch or two lower in pure lux content (the seats in the BMW, however, are fantastic, a notch or two better than the very very good RDX's seats.)
The auto trans needs another speed. It is difficult to say much more, since the X3 was a stick.
There is NO shudder that we could feel in either car even over potholes and "washboard" road surfaces.
Although fine at speed, the BMW does seem to have longer legs and makes 95MPH just a smidge more "effortless" feeling.
At any speed below 75, though, they are both great in virtually all respects.
The interior of the RDX can be had in either wood or aluminum, so can the BMW, ours has wood and the RDX demo had none -- with wood, the RDX would have, speaking of the dashboard, alone, really outclassed the BMW.
The BMW steering wheel is meatier (sport wheel.) The Acura wheel is pretty but it has a bunch of buttons and aluminum and it looks a little bit like a nice car with great factory wheels that someone has added "spinners" to. For our tastes, that is, the Acura steering wheel just seems busy and the feel, although quite good is not as "in command" as the feel one gets from gripping the X3's (the standard X3 wheel though, would have lost out to the RDX's.)
The throttle tip-in on the RDX is "perfect" for urban areas, not to be critical of the BMW's in any respect, it is just a great feel with the RDX, "peppy and responsive" from a full stop. Indeed, the RDX was very smooth, speaking of the combo of the throttle and transmission, but the X3 is a stick shift and there ARE inherent differences. This would be, more or less, a draw. My memory tells me the current X3 with the 5 speed steptronic would feel a bit out of breath and not quite as smooth as the RDX's (this is NOT from a back to back however and, as such, is subject to the fading memory of two 50 something year olds.)
Did I mention the RDX was $10,000 less and in some respects had quite a bit more "content?" Did I mention that?
The BMW is better looking on the outside and the RDX vs the current X3 is better looking on the inside.
Colored and configured with pleasing color combos, the RDX could certainly carry off "style, grace and taste," with equal aplomb as the BMW. The newly designed BMW X3 interior and better color coordination with the bumpers, etc, does up the ante though -- so don't count the BMW out.
Two interior colors can be had with the RDX black or beige. All exterior colors can be had with either interior leather color.
The 19" wheels on a black pearl RDX with the beige interior would be hard to find fault with in almost any beauty contest with the X3 -- I still prefer the German Look to the Japanese Look, but the RDX ain't no Tribeca-Subaru-Looking thang, not at all.
The RDX can send "up to 45%" of the power to the rear wheels under hard acceleration and sends nominally 90% of the power to the front wheels.
I am "intellectually" aware of this distinction between this and the X3 and it is of concern.
Did I mention the $10,000 difference?
The RDX has a tune up at 100,000 miles and essentially oil and filter changes as maint items otherwise.
The RDX appears to be the higher value car at this point -- the BMW is the car for those who want to be fully engaged in and rewarded by driving.
From a practical standpoint, on a lease -- the differences between these two vehicles today is probably a hundred bucks a month.
If this remains true with the 2007 X3, I'd still go with the BMW, for it is worth more for the things "we" value in a car.
Were I given an RDX, however, I would keep it.
One of my tests of a car is to ask and answer the question, "if given this car would I keep it or sell it?"
I'd keep the RDX. At this point, I probably wouldn't buy or lease it.
Acura adds perhaps 5% more HP/torque, a 6 speed auto, memory for the driver's seat and offers a sport suspension and keeps the price at least a high 4 figure number lower than the BMW's -- well the RDX would certainly make justifying the BMW difficult indeed.
You must drive both the 2007 BMW X3 and the RDX to be fair.
Drive it like you live!
#32 of 327 Re: Great Competition [markcincinnati]
Aug 23, 2006 (11:44 am)
Great post. Very thorough and helpful to this undecided buyer. I didn't realize the 2007 X3 was already out. I will have to compare. I don't drive manual, so I will be interested in seeing how the X3 automatic compares with the RDX.
#33 of 327 Re: Great Competition [bbydad]
Aug 23, 2006 (12:28 pm)
Much as I complain about autos (the Audi and BMW 5 speed autos in particular), the newest gen of German automatics from Audi and BMW are very easy to like and almost able to be loved.
The 5 speed Acura transmission isn't bad -- it needs another gear to be able to marry its somewhat strange (for a turbo) torque curve to its final drive ratio.
I would think a 2007 X3 6spd Steptronic would be much more impressive.
I have come to really respect, like and darn near want to praise my Audi 6speed tiptronic. I have no reason to believe BMW's would be anything less.
I would still consider the stick, but there is now no longer any price reason and the performance difference is hardly worth mentioning at 2/10ths of a second.
The step has a sport mode which I assume does the same as the Audi's tip sport mode and that is to pretty much stamp out transmission lag.
The RDX is not to be dismissed entirely out of hand, that is. Of course, just when the RDX cranks up the performance quotient, you can rest assured BMW will come up with the next gen X3 and up the ante again.
The price point does deserve some thought though -- personally the voice command is impressive. Moreso than the voice control in my Audi.
BMW has voice and voice dialing, etc etc etc -- hopefully it can be had in the X3.
That being said, the controls in the X3 ARE easier to use since they have for the moment avoided going to iDrive. The Acura has a bit of an iDrive or MMI or COMMAND like system and although I am certain it will not require a rocket surgeon to use, it isn't as easy to use first time as the Bimmer's "traditional" control set up.
Check out the 2007 X3 if the aesthetics are of concern, that new interior and new engine and new transmission in the '07 X3 are not simply a fresh coat of paint.
#34 of 327 Re: Great Competition [markcincinnati]
Aug 23, 2006 (1:48 pm)
Thanks Mark...your comments are much appreciated.
I'd like to see the 07 X3 and then test drive an RDX.
#35 of 327 Dealer Badmouthing
Aug 23, 2006 (6:14 pm)
Has anybody mentioned that they are test driving the 2 vehicles (X3 & RDX) to the dealer they are working with? Did the Acura dealer have some trash to talk about the BMW? The only reason I ask is (and again, EVERY dealership & salesperson are DIFFERENT) because a few years ago when I was test driving an Acura MDX (Comparing it to a BMW X5), the Acura salesman asked me what else I was looking at. Before I could get the W in BMW out he kinda got this defensive tone in his voice he blurted out "How could you even compare the X5 to our MDX, they are problematic and ALWAYS in the shop." I then went ahead to explain to him how BMW includes scheduled maintenance for the duration of the warranty period. He replied with "I think umm they're stopping that next year."
#36 of 327 Re: Dealer Badmouthing [nyccarguy]
Aug 23, 2006 (7:11 pm)
We did tell the Acura dealer we also had an X3. The salesrep said part of his training was to learn about the X3 AND the RDX since the RDX's target was the X3 customer -- or something that led me to believe he did have some ammo.
His only comment was that the RDX was stiffer than the X3 and that it would handle and ride better. He wouldn't really badmouth the X3 (at that time.) So, perhaps he would have turned up the X3 criticism as we progressed.
He seemed to want to tell us about the RDX, NOT defend it or attack the Bimmer.
#38 of 327 Re: the RDX didn't just look competitive [steve_]
Aug 25, 2006 (4:23 am)
Good article. I have a sinking feeling that most buyers in this particular vehicle segment are going to opt for the RDX over the X3 -- if they're comparing the two. I am one that prefers the BMW "drive" and that super sweet 6-speed manual.
Sheesh, but that big $10K difference is haunting me... could I get used to looks of the RDX exterior and its automatic? Yikes! Though what I'm really hoping is that BMW will be forced into lowering their price on the X3, or offering deals that no one could pass up. Then there'd be no question at all. The X3 wins!
#39 of 327 Re: the RDX didn't just look competitive [steve_]
Aug 25, 2006 (10:52 am)
2007 Acura RDX Road Test -- Going After BMW, Again (Karl on Cars)
That is scary!
I'd like to try one, but I sure do have to get used to the looks.
#40 of 327 Re: the RDX didn't just look competitive [timmboj]
Aug 25, 2006 (1:34 pm)
Hmm, yep, I again ask "Did I mention that the RDX is $10,000 LESS than the X3?"
Frankly, it kindof boils down to the lease deals (for the BMW) at this price point.
My wife's $47K BMW is $581/mo (including tax) 36 mo/15K no money down.
A CR-V from Honda for 42 months TODAY was $399/mo. If the RDX is even close to being similarly priced, the RDX would be what $499 or more per month, same term?
MSRP doesn't always tell the tale.
Real or artificial, the residual of the BMW does tend to make it (them) "within reach," far more than the MSRP might suggest.
Besides, I do think the BMW X3 is a better total package AND actually is worth more from an asking price perspective.
I guess from THAT perspective, it is that it is $10,000 more than the RDX that is most troublesome (unless there's a few thou hidden in the BMW's glove box.)