Two 6-cyl engines: Acura vs BMW

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40,715
Location
Great Lakes
The first engine is the Acura/Honda 3.2 DOHC V6 (not sure of the actual designation), currently used in the TL and probably a few others. The second engine is the BMW M54 3.0 I6, used on e46, e39, and a few others up until recently. Does anyone have some experience or knowledge about both to tell me which of the two is a more bullet-proof design? I looked at the UOAs, but there are only a few. The Acura engine appears to have somewhat elevated metal levels, but it may be a normal break-in behavior and not a concern, I'm not sure. Are they relatively easy on oil (how big are the oil sumps on each?) and capable of going way past 100K miles without major issues? Are there any known inherent design flaws in any of them? I know you can't judge a car by its engine alone, but it's just one more point of decision-making process for me. Thanks!
 
Messages
333
Location
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Don't know about BMW engine but I do have Acura 3.2 CL Type-S this engine unlike its detuned verions in TL/CL requires premium fuel but some have been runing on regular (not too smart but hey....) without any major issues they are quite easy on oil the manual recommends 6000 km for severe service and 12,0000 km for easy driving. I noticed that it turns oil honey-brown after about 4000km both semi synth and synth like GC. From my own short experience and word from my friends and forum memmbers they last and last and last a long time there have been very few reports of oil consumption on the Acurazine.com board. No one I know uses anything heavier than GC 0W-30 also a lot of guys use regular oils like GTX with no ill effects, never heard of any sludging issues or any signifficant engine problems, the 5 speed atomatic tranny well.... that is a disaster some heve gone trough 3 replacements in 3-4 years of ownership, mine so far is ok and shifts are almost seamless, but the warranty has been extended to 160,000 km so I ain't too worried. Other than that just change the fluids as per manual close the hood and forget what's under there. Fuel consumption in my case 60% city 40% highway (with a few WOT dashes ) is not that bad on a 62 litre tank I get 500 km which is not too bad.
 
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23,892
Location
CA
Both are solid engines, but the 3.2L V6 is much higher maintenance. It requires a timing belt, water pump, drive belt, and valve adjustment every 100k...all of those items cost a hair under $1000. 4.6 hrs to do the timing belt, 0.5 hrs to do the water pump, and 2.7 hrs to do the valve adjustment...those are the numbers by the book for the 3.0...which I'd assume would be similar if not identical for the 3.2. Otherwise, that engine is solid and provides good fuel economy. The transmission, if manufactured after 05, should be fine.
 

Quattro Pete

Thread starter
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40,715
Location
Great Lakes
Heh... despite having a timing chain (not sure how often it needs to be replaced if ever), I am almost sure the M54 engine requires at least as much $$ to maintain every 100K miles. [Smile] Standard/scheduled maintenance doesn't worry me though. It's the non-standard stuff that I'm interested in. As for the transmission, I'm only considering manual.
 
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12,385
Location
Northern CA
Quattro I'll second what The Critic said. We just had the 100k service done on a 3.2Tl. The dealer's (Sacramento) price was well over $1000. We got it done at an independant shop in Roseville, CA that uses Honda/Acura parts for a bit under $750. The car has been trouble free except for the transmission that Acura replaced at 80k something miles with no hassle and a seat belt buckle with SRS switch that they replaced at 103k miles at no charge. Engine sump capacity including filter is 4.5 qts on our 2000 and 2006 TLs. The 2000's engine looks like new inside the oil fill cap at 104k miles of M1 on 6k OCIs. If you haven't done it already, drive both. The TL is a good handling fun to drive car, but I think it's BMW would have some advantage there.
 

Quattro Pete

Thread starter
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40,715
Location
Great Lakes
Seriously, such maintenance doesn't scare me at all. The A4 I used to own required the timing work (plus water pump, and a few other accompanying details) every 60K miles, and if done at the dealer, it would be over $1K as well. I will definitely drive both before I buy. Right now I'm just doing some background research about things that a test-drive will not reveal. From what I've read though, the torque-steer on a manual TL is no fun. Apparently they tried to fix it for 2006, but I would be buying an older one most likely (2004). This is one advantage that BMW with its RWD has over the TL. Otherwise, I love the TL inside and out. As far as handling - I don't know - I'll see when I test drive them, but descriptions such as "feeling disconnected from the road" have come up when reading TL reviews. I'm sure some suspension upgrades could help though. On the other hand, one big problem with the BMW: finding a manual e39 530i with sport pkg is next to impossible. [Frown]
 
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2,925
Location
Georgia/Retired
If you truly love to drive automobiles then buy the BMW with the manual transmission. The I-6 engine is incredible and the dynamics of the vehicle chassis are unmatched by any front wheel driver. I have a 2.5 liter I-6 BMW and it has cost me very little over the past 8 years except for routine maintenance items described below: Oil and filter change twice a year. Air filter annually. coolant change every 4 years. I did have to buy a intake boot that had cracked and gave me a check-engine light. The dealer cost for the part was $14.
 
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882
Location
North Carolina
Go buy a an Impala you'll have a lot less maintenance and a more reliable better handling vehicle to boot. Of course if you are trading every few years then it's a little different. As far as I am concerned depreciation does not count as I am in it for the long haul. Anything with a timing belt should be avoided IMHO... you might have to actually depend on it to last 150K miles. Good luck. Rickey.
 
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23,892
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by Rickey: Go buy a an Impala you'll have a lot less maintenance and a more reliable better handling vehicle to boot. Of course if you are trading every few years then it's a little different. As far as I am concerned depreciation does not count as I am in it for the long haul. Anything with a timing belt should be avoided IMHO... you might have to actually depend on it to last 150K miles. Good luck. Rickey.
He wasn't interested in buying a boat. [Wink]
quote:
Originally posted by Rickey: Anything with a timing belt should be avoided IMHO... you might have to actually depend on it to last 150K miles. Good luck. Rickey.
Shoot, and I thought headgaskets would be projected to last much longer than 150k. [Bang Head]
quote:
Multilayer steel (MLS) head gaskets – These premium gaskets offer great durability over conventional graphite gaskets and were validated to 150,000 miles.
http://news.hspn.com/articles/329/1/GM-3.9L-V6-Gets-E85-Ethanol-and-Cylinder-Deactivation/print/329 [ September 01, 2006, 10:03 PM: Message edited by: The Critic ]
 
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12,385
Location
Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by Rickey: Go buy a an Impala you'll have a lot less maintenance and a more reliable better handling vehicle to boot.
[LOL!]
 
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537
Location
California
Don't put too much faith in magazine reports about handling. Handling is subjective, it really about what YOU want. I currently have a BMW 325I and I HATE it. Don't know why, I just don't trust it in corners. It may oversteer or understeer, I'm not good enough to figure out which it will do in any given corner. I like rear engine cars because I always KNOW they will oversteer. The Acura is front wheel drive so you always KNOW it will understeer. Front wheel drive also works WAY better in the snow, so much so that you should not consider a BMW if you drive in the snow a lot.Both BMW and Acura engines should cost about the same to maintain. Acura electronics have always been reliable, BMW can be pretty bad depending on your luck.BMW's have a lot of piddly vacuum leaks and stuff. You will get more friendly with your mechanic if you buy a BMW. If there are no good shops specializing in BMW in your area then forget it, I have never been impressed by $$BMW$$ dealers. In the end, buy the car you like. They are not too far apart in price or performance.Oh yes, the BMW also has a great owner's club with lots of good events and magazines. The BMW club can really add a lot of enjoyment to driving and owning a Bimmer.
 
Messages
23,892
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by carock: Oh yes, the BMW also has a great owner's club with lots of good events and magazines. The BMW club can really add a lot of enjoyment to driving and owning a Bimmer.
And so do Acura enthusiast forums. AcuraZine has great, organized meets/owner's clubs in major metropolitan areas nationwide.
 
Messages
855
Location
India
Have a Accord V6 which uses the Acura V6, the engine is still running strong after 500,000+ miles, with just the basic maintenance, the Acura/Honda engine would last forever, its extremely well made with no mechanical issues. I have had it hopped up with HRC parts like intake, headers etc and a Centre Force Dual Friction clutch.
 
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1,057
Location
Indiana (IN)
I have a 2003 BMW 330Ci and love it. The sump capacity is 7 quarts. My last 4 OCIs are posted. My car sees way too many short trips. It is the best car I have every driven on long trips. I've made 5 trips from Houston to Indianapolis, all about 18 hours each way without getting too tired. You won't have to worry about snow in the florida trailer park region. There is always the 3Xi if you frequent snowy areas. The engine is remarable, the torque curve seems almost flat from 2500 - 6500 RPM. Here is a dyno run : 2003 BMW 330Ci auto
 
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4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
quote:
Originally posted by XS650:
quote:
Originally posted by Rickey: Go buy a an Impala you'll have a lot less maintenance and a more reliable better handling vehicle to boot.
[LOL!]

That does sound like an odd statement. I haven't driven an Impala, a TL, or any Bimmers. But the Legend, Vigor, and 1.6EL's that I've driven handled better than any GM I've ever been in, including the last years of the Trans Ams, IMHO.
 
Messages
12,385
Location
Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by rpn453:
quote:
Originally posted by XS650:
quote:
Originally posted by Rickey: Go buy a an Impala you'll have a lot less maintenance and a more reliable better handling vehicle to boot.
[LOL!]

That does sound like an odd statement. I haven't driven an Impala, a TL, or any Bimmers. But the Legend, Vigor, and 1.6EL's that I've driven handled better than any GM I've ever been in, including the last years of the Trans Ams, IMHO.

My local Acura dealer uses the Enterprise Rental next door to supply loaner cars. When I objected to the Impala loaner I was offered, the Enterprise clerk told me the Acura dealer had instructed Enterprise to put Acura customers in like size American cars whenever possible.
 
Messages
651
Location
la jolla, ca
I've owned 5 BMW's so far and very active in the BMW world. We also have a 325iT M54 powered vehicle in our family, fantastic engine though a bit gutless below 4.5k rpms. Obviously tuned for higher speeds [Big Grin] Going back to BMW, I very rarely hear of an engine failing under good maitnenance. Most common is a cooling system issue (blown headgasket) as the radiator and water pumps are known to go bad sooner than normal on BMW's of the past decade. However that is an easy problem to prevent by keeping check on your cooling system. BMW's bottom ends are built very strong and it's why you will see many teams run a BMW motor for racing out of the box without re-building it. One big factor for that is these engines are designed to give a long service life of driving down the Autobahn under high rpms for extended periods of time. I have never worried about winding out these motors or keeping them parked near redline on a mountain drive for extended periods of time. However, I would be rather weary of doing so in a US/Japanese car. I do not doubt Honda's engineering but I would tend to believe a BMW motor will outlive a Honda one in the long run, ESPECIALLY under hard driving. I've seen countless examples of 250k+ mile BMW motors never rebuilt and not being driven like an econo car either.
 
Messages
651
Location
la jolla, ca
quote:
Originally posted by carock: Don't put too much faith in magazine reports about handling. Handling is subjective, it really about what YOU want. I currently have a BMW 325I and I HATE it. Don't know why, I just don't trust it in corners. It may oversteer or understeer, I'm not good enough to figure out which it will do in any given corner. I like rear engine cars because I always KNOW they will oversteer. The Acura is front wheel drive so you always KNOW it will understeer. Front wheel drive also works WAY better in the snow, so much so that you should not consider a BMW if you drive in the snow a lot.Both BMW and Acura engines should cost about the same to maintain. Acura electronics have always been reliable, BMW can be pretty bad depending on your luck.BMW's have a lot of piddly vacuum leaks and stuff. You will get more friendly with your mechanic if you buy a BMW. If there are no good shops specializing in BMW in your area then forget it, I have never been impressed by $$BMW$$ dealers. In the end, buy the car you like. They are not too far apart in price or performance.Oh yes, the BMW also has a great owner's club with lots of good events and magazines. The BMW club can really add a lot of enjoyment to driving and owning a Bimmer.
Wow, your the first person I've ever heard say BMW's are hard to read for handling. I've found them to be one of the easiest and most neutral out of the box due to their 50/50 balance and nimble tuning. Not to mention their feedback is so much better than their competitors. Having driven Audi/Acura/MBZ back to back to BMW at track events, those cars definitley aim towards a different buyer. The Acura TL had to be one of the least impressive in terms of handling while the Audi/MBZ were ok but def. numb. How old is your suspension...you may need new ball joints/bushings/shocks, etc. because something does not sound right. I have just finished putting in a custom coilver suspension and upgraded bushings/ball joints, etc. Dialed in a good deal more of negative camber and my 318ti handles like it's on rails.
 
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