The 2012 Acura MDX and BMW X5 play in the luxury crossover arena where buyers are flocking for luxury, capability and space. While both vehicles share the same goal, the paths they tread to get there are somewhat divergent. The BMW is a solid choice, however; the Acura MDX matches or betters the X5 in virtually every category, making it the choice for buyers looking to maximize their enjoyment-per-dollar.
Right off the bat, the MDX puts money back in your pocket by carrying a lower base MSRP of $42,930*, versus the $47,500 BMW charges for the X5 xDrive35i. The MDX holds its value better over time as well with an ALG Residual Value of 57 percent after 36 months; after the same period, the X5 is worth 50 percent of its original price. At the 60-month mark, the Acura is still worth 41 percent of new while the BMW is down to 35 percent. Acura backs the MDX better, too. Both the MDX and X5 feature four-year/50,000-mile basic warranties, but Acura covers the MDX powertrain for 72 months or 70,000 miles, which is two more years and an extra 20,000 miles over the BMW.
The case for the MDX gets even better when you climb inside. Leather-trimmed seats are standard, an option that the more expensive BMW charges you extra for, and it’s the same story with heated front seats. There’s no third-row seating available in the X5 to match the standard split-bench third-row the MDX carries, nor can the BMW match the standard 60/40-split second-row seat that folds and reclines. Rear-seat passengers will prefer the Acura’s accommodations, too, with standard rear-seat HVAC controls and a power moonroof that lets more light into the cabin. Standard privacy glass keeps prying eyes off the contents of the MDX, and drivers will appreciate the standard auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic tilt-away steering column, power liftgate and HomeLink® integrated remote.
BMW gives you a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that’s turbocharged to 300 hp and 300 lb/ft of torque. It’s an engine that’s packing a lot more complexity and potential sources of unreliability than Acura’s 3.7-liter V6. The MDX also serves up 300 hp thanks to both its extra displacement and higher 11.2:1 compression ratio that extracts more work from every drop of fuel. Both engines feature four valves per cylinder, but Acura operates the valve train with a single overhead camshaft per bank of cylinders, again reducing complexity compared to the BMWs dual overhead camshaft setup.
The MDX is longer than the X5 by half an inch and wider by nearly two and a half inches, resulting in more front shoulder, head- and legroom and more rear legroom and shoulder room. A 67.7-inch front track and 67.5-inch rear track stably plant the MDX on the road; the stance on the X5 is narrower with a 64.7-inch front and 65-inch rear track. You’d think that a vehicle capable of hauling a maximum cargo volume of 83.5 cubic feet––nearly 10 cubic feet more than the BMW’s 75.2 cubic feet of total space––and seven total passengers standard versus the five-person capacity of the BMW, would pay a significant penalty in weight, but the MDX is significantly more svelte than the X5, tipping the scales at 4,550 pounds, 410 pounds lighter than the 4,960-pound X5.
Both automakers offer options aplenty for their luxury crossovers including technology, navigation and performance enhancements. When going that route, the Acura wins out over the BMW again by offering options like an Active Damper System, (which effectively controls body motions), GPS-linked climate control and a fantastic ELS Surround-Sound audio system without going racing off for the $80,000 mark you can push an X5 up to.
The 2012 Acura MDX clearly bests its German rival. Make the smart choice and take a test drive of the MDX today.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $885.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.