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BMW 3-series vs Lexus IS

legarlegar Posts: 71
edited April 27 in BMW
Which vehicle do you prefer, and why?
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Comments

  • legarlegar Posts: 71
    I loved the interior of the IS 250AWD, it feels safe and comfortable. The leather seats are wonderfull, simply no competition to any other car I have driven. The car looks expensive from the inside and the outside.

    The handling of the IS 250AWD was good. The suspension was great, and very comfortable. There was very little body roll. The brakes were great and there was very little nose dive.

    Finally, probably the only thing I didnt like was the engine. No, it is NOT underpowered overall. But at the beginning before the power kicks in the engine feels slow and lazy. After you speed up the engine is very smooth and powerful.
    I was very satisfied, even the BMW salesguy said that Lexus did a good job with the IS.

    I also test drove the 325i on the same day,
    The handling of the car was great. The suspension was also very comfortable, it absorbed the rough roads very well. The engine was smooth, powerful, and quite.
    The car was very well conected to the road, no body roll what so ever. Oh, and the brakes are great.

    Now for the bad news. Compared to the Lexus, the 325i looked boring inside and outside. The interior was well made but it just was not as great looking as the IS. Outside of the car looked boring, nothing special, it just didnt stand out at all.

    Bottom line good car, but except for an advantage in performance, I just do not see anything that would make it stand out from the Lexus.
  • IS350 - pros: nice luxury touches, powerful engine, lexus reliability

    Cons: slow reacting 6 speed automatic, body roll in corners, intrusive stability/traction control, flat seats that offer no support, vague steering, zero roadfeel - as if floating on a cloud. Expensive maintenance over first 4 years (approximately 1k).

    With sport package and mandatory premium that car stickers at 41k

    330i - pros: sublime handling, excellent seating position, supportive seats, near perfect dash layout, smooth engine, 6 speed manual, composed at high speeds, free maintenance, european delivery option

    Cons: bmw reliability, small mirrors, engine needs more power

    With sport package, leather, comfort access that car stickers at 41k. European Delivery price minus BMW CCA rebate = 35.5k

    Easy winner = 330i = more fun to drive and 6k cheaper (with maintenance factored into equation)
  • Well its too late to explain why but i will tomorrow lol just wanted to let you guys

    know! but i customized my BWM it cam out to 52K and my IS350 was 48K so

    that could be my con about BWM which i can think this ver moment! Oh BTW

    legar its cool you started this! and i will like to continue this conversation later!
  • Well I agree with you on the interior. The Lexus wins hands down. The IS250 RWD felt slow to me. I would have to assume that the AWD version would be unbearable for me especially when you look at the sticker price with options. The seats are highly unsupportive. I had to reposition my body before making the relatively sharp turns I took test driving the cars. Body roll was clear and evident although admittedly this was a non sport package equipped car in IS250 trim. The IS350 did have the sport package and the roll wasn't quite as bad although I could still feel it. The AT doesn't perform as well as a true sequential manual when shifting yourself. The steering feel was like driving a Cadillac DTS IMO. The IS350 is very nice and hides some of the IS250's faults much better. Of course that could be that the driver is just so happy with the engine's power. That aspect of the car is great.. no phenomenal. The styling however is forgettable although when you see it you know it's Japanese.Overall though the new IS is a very nice car- especially in IS350 trim.

    As for the BMW 3 series it has exceptional handling. Very good acceleration, although not up to IS350 levels. The interior, although I prefer the technocentric Lexus theme, is sensible without the frills. It is just basic simplicity- gauges, HVAC controls, sound system, very supportive seats in the sport package, and a manual option for those who want it. The exterior is instantly recognizable as BMW and it is a good looking car. Free maintenance is a good program. The only questionable design aspect IMO is the overly done tapered backend. Other than that though Bangle made a pretty good looking car.

    The G35 has an exhaust note to die for. IMO it is the best sounding engine in the sub 50K category. It certainly doesn't sound like the V6 that it is. The car is very fun to drive overall but the variable steering just doesn't feel as natural as the 3 series or even the TSX for that matter. It provides enough feedback to keep all but the most hard to please driver happy. The real world gas mileage on this car seems very atrocious compared to the competiton. The interior is only a little better than the gas mileage but it is functional enough. They updated the interior to my delight for the 2005 model with real aluminum trim. A rosewood wood grain is availible too I believe.

    Next up Acura TSX. This has the slickest manual in the class IMO. For the money the overall package can't be beat. This car can be had with everything for around 30K OTD easy. This could be a true BMW beater or at least a serious competitor in terms of handling if Honda would switch to a RWD or SH-AWD platform and add some power. The size is just about right to me for a sports sedan and this car has very sharp handling already despite being FWD. After driving both versions the sport suspension from the A-Spec package is definately worth it. This is a very fun car that could be even better with a bit more refinement and power.

    The Audi A4 Quattro 2.0T has quite of bit of spunk despite being such a heavy car. I was very surprised as this was the first time I had driven one of the newer Audi's. They have nearly eliminated turbo lag in this new engine. It felt great with linear power and torque coming in early and staying late. Shift the AT into the "Sport" mode and you feel even more power and the AT holds the gears a bit longer. On a side note I tried the Audi A3 DSG while I was there and all I can say is WOW about DSG!!! That thing should replace every AT on Earth IMO. The A3 is a viable alternative to those considering cars such as the Mini Cooper S. The Audi interior looked the best overall when you considered the materials used. It was very rich looking in a contemporary way.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Cons: slow reacting 6 speed automatic, body roll in corners, intrusive stability/traction control, flat seats that offer no support, vague steering, zero roadfeel - as if floating on a cloud. Expensive maintenance over first 4 years (approximately 1k).

    IS350 actually has the fastest automatic out there. You may prefer a manual better, but that's a different story altogether. As for floating on a cloud, not sure what kind cloud you have been floating on; the IS350 is certainly much tighter handling 5 series and 7 series that I have owned in the past. As for first 4yr maintenance, didn't you say you only keep your cars for 3 yrs? Why would anyone want to be mandated into paying for a year that will never be enjoyed?

    330i - pros: sublime handling, excellent seating position, supportive seats, near perfect dash layout, smooth engine, 6 speed manual, composed at high speeds, free maintenance, european delivery option

    Seats too tight and uncomfortable. Completely useless manual trasmission as I can never order that given my city driving environment (tongue in cheek parody of VDIM rip), and the automatic option, which is actually bought by most 3-series buyers, is slow as a snail compared to the auto on the IS350. 4yr free maintenance is a mandated waste of money as I would never keep a 3 series beyond a 3-yr lease, and frankly while leasing for 3yrs, it's highly doubtful any modern engine would seize up even if I change oil only once, at 18k mark. [non-permissible content removed]-out-luck for the buyer of lease returns, I know.

    With sport package, leather, comfort access that car stickers at 41k. European Delivery price minus BMW CCA rebate = 35.5k

    The cost of ventilated seat? not offered, therefore infinity. I will never buy another compact sporty sedan/coup without ventilated seats. Hot marbles in tight seats are unbearable in summer. As for cutting purchase cost, if you have a Lexus Visa card, you can earn enough points to lop as much as 10% of purchase price. Considering that an IS350 with Sport Premium package only invoices for little over $34k (which includes everything in the $41k/35.5k BMW, plus perforated leather, heated and ventilated seats, power-adjusting steering wheel with memory, rain-sensing wiper). So with the card, you can get the whole thing at about $31k when the IS350 eventually comes down to $500 over invoice as they always do.

    Easy winner = IS350 = more fun to drive and infinitely (or $5k) less expensive.
  • Geez... what options did you put on the cars to make them that expensive? Seriously if you were willing to spend 52K on a 3 series you should really try out the M3 or the 530i.
  • I'm just curious about your size because you said the BMW seats were too tight and uncomfortable. You do realize the side bolsters can be adjusted. I'm 6'4" and 215lbs and I found they would fit me fine but we may have different body types I'm asuming.
  • The cost of ventilated seat? not offered, therefore infinity. I will never buy another compact sporty sedan/coup without ventilated seats. Hot marbles in tight seats are unbearable in summer.

    To each his own. I see no point in such seats. You see value, I see garbage (same goes for heated seats).

    As for cutting purchase cost, if you have a Lexus Visa card, you can earn enough points to lop as much as 10% of purchase price.

    From the Lexus Visa site:
    Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent in net purchases made everyday - that's 50% more than most rewards cards (e.g., $5,000 spent = 7500 points = $75 redeemable at Lexus dealerships) [2]

    So to get 10% off a 35k car you'd need to spend...over $235,00. I could put the mortgages of all my rental properties on that card and it'd still take a few years to reach that level.

    Considering that an IS350 with Sport Premium package only invoices for little over $34k

    Impossible to get at this moment. The 330i ED as specified can be ordered today for 36k.

    (which includes everything in the $41k/35.5k BMW, plus perforated leather, heated and ventilated seats, power-adjusting steering wheel with memory, rain-sensing wiper).

    330i has rain-sensing (worthless) wipers, and they've had tilt/telescoping wheels for years and years. No power to them...thank god. Memory seats are standard too. So again it's missing the heated/cooled seats. If we're tossing dumb features are adaptive bixenon headlights on the IS350 auto on/auto off as they're standard on the 330i?

    So with the card, you can get the whole thing at about $31k when the IS350 eventually comes down to $500 over invoice as they always do.

    Eventually is the key word. spending 235k on a credit card is not an easy feat without business expenses. Getting an IS at $500 over invoice shouldn't be possible for a spell either. In other words, for now this is a pipe dream.

    Everything I laid out is possible right now and without any gross expenditures to achieve it.

    Unfortunately, the car you described still lacks a suitable transmission and bad seating/ergonomics.
  • g17g17 Posts: 45
    Lexus beats BMW at all model levels in reliability, why should this be any different. My entry-level lux. is my commuter car so it needs to be reliable. I couldn't care less about cornering at high speeds as if I were filming an Earnest & Julio Gallo wine commercial thru the mountain roads of Europe. I drive on the NJ Tpk, I pass lots of BMW's on the road taking advantage of their road-side assistance. Until BMW or MB for that matter makes a better car I'm done with them.
  • zcar3zcar3 Posts: 22
    IS350 actually has the fastest automatic out there. Not even close. By far the best auto transmission in this general level of car is the DSG available in the Audi A3, TT, VW Jetta GLI, etc.

    As far as ventilated seats - what is the word on them? Do they really work? I ask because IMO they look extremely cheap - they make a nice leather seat look like pleather. Now if they really functioned as advertised it may be worth it...
  • Amen! Whats the point of having the "Ultimate Driving Machine" if its broken down on the side of the road. Reliability for me is key. Give me a Japanese car any day of the year. So if the Lexus IS is 2nd best then I'm okay with that. As long as I pass the BMW on the side of the road while their waiting for that great road side assistance! Go ahead get your overpriced broken prone vehicle from BMW. Go on now. Make a smart financial decision.
  • zcar3zcar3 Posts: 22
    Reliability is a huge issue for almost everyone, and Lexus has certainly earned their reputation as among the best - probably the actual best - auto for reliability.

    What I don't have a good handle on is BMW reliability. Annecdotal evidence of BMWs seen on the road side are just that - annecdotal. I'm looking at both of these cars and reliability is without a doubt an issue. I've found some interesting info: the JD Powers Initial Quality Study for 2005 had Lexus first (of around 20 manufacturers), with 81 problems per 100 vehicles. BWM third with 95, while the idustry average was 118. (Full story and graph: http://www.jdpa.com/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2005069) According to this, yes, the Lexus is more reliable, but the difference is small.

    But there has to be more information out there than just this. Does anyone have good sources of reliability information on these cars? I realize both the new IS and 3-series are too new though, so we'll have to settle for the previous models...
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,665
    I suspect this reliability difference may close; when comparing the new IS to the 3.

    The reason Lexus has a better reliability is because they are never driven aggressively…because either they can’t or you wouldn’t want to.

    The new IS should change this trend.

    As I recall the previous GS has a reliability rating worse than the rest of the Lexus family…because it was driven “a little more” aggressively.

    From my own personal experience I’ve never seen a Lexus pushed over 2K rpm. I usually get stuck behind these people.

    I still think reliability is related to demographics…with Lexus covering the geriatrics club. The couch analogy comes in here. Give a similar couch to a frat house, and give one to grandma. Drawing a conclusion about the couch’s reliability wouldn’t make sense in this situation, but for auto’s we do it all the time.
  • Hmmm... let's see. Every car company has some cars sitting on the side of the road Lexus included. It's not just a European and American car issue. All Japanese cars are not flawless and I refuse to believe such. As for BMW's reliability overall I won't go as far to say they have a better overall track record as Lexus but I KNOW it's not as bad as you all are claiming. If it were how would they still be in business? Case in point I have a 1998 Chevy Malibu as one of my cars that has 140,000 miles on it with never a problem outside of routine maintenance, 1 alternator change earlier this year, 2 belt changes as precaution and 1 battery replacement everything else is original equipment. If I were to believe what people believe because of joke magazine's like Consumer Reports then none of this would have been possible.

    So like why I'm going to have to believe that every manufacturer has the ability to make a great trouble-free car the same way they can make a dud. Oh and as far as Mercedes reliability my mom and my sister both have them. neither one of them never have a problem with theirs. All they do is routine maintenance. There goes your theory there too. That's just the honest truth though when all is said and done.
  • The BMW 3 won't leave you stranded. It's more like weird niggling things will go wrong with the car.
  • Despite what the Lexus engineers claim, The Lexus IS AT is nowhere near as fast as a Ferrari F1. The fact that anyone could possibly believe this is a clear indication that someone is drinking too much Lexus juice. As AT go it is one of the better ones overall that I have tried, but it is not even in the same league with a sequential manual transmission when it comes to shift speeds. You should go out this weekend and try an A3 or M3 to see the difference before making those transmission claims. If you decide to go though make sure you drive the car really fast so you can see and appreciate the difference.
  • zcar3zcar3 Posts: 22
    hi texasmerg - i completely agree with you (the italicized quote was what i was reponding to - someone else's statement that the IS auto as being the fastest). I drove the A3 with DSG and it was a blast. As someone that would never seiously consider an auto tranny, I have to admit that one made me think about it. It was fun! Too bad Audi won't sell the 2.0T A3 w/ quattro. That engine just overpowers the FWD...

    On the other hand, I didn't experience that level of fun excitement driving the IS 250 (AWD auto). It downshifted slowly and wasn't nearly as light feeling. Audi needs the 2.0T Quattro model...
  • Yes I know. I had inadvertantly replied to your post instead of the other one. Sorry for the confusion. I believe that Audi has the Quattro coming to the A3 2.0T and DSG will also be offered exclusively on the A3 3.2 Quattro IIRC. I also agree with you that the 2.0T pulls a lot and the car feels a little unbalance without Quattro.

    OTOH I didn't experience that level of fun with the IS250 RWD, but the IS350 was at least a lot more entertaining than the IS250.
  • For this novice, could you please inform what is BMW CCA and how do you join/cost to get the stated discount, which sounds too good to be true. Many thanks.
  • g17g17 Posts: 45
    Its not a theory son, its the experience; your Mom's MB experience is good. I have 9k in warranty work done this year alone, and mines an '03! MB puts out garbage compared to years past. As for BMW, it has zero appeal to me, especially with their latest design attempts. Of course no manufacturer puts out a trouble-free car. But it seems Lexus attempts to put out the LEAST trouble-free.
  • Wow, that's your personal experience. Oh BTW my sister's MB is an '04 and she doesn't have any problems either so I don't know what you are talking about. Oh yeah, and please don't refer to me as "son" that's a very derogarotory term. Besides I am very much a man in every sense of the word.
  • BMW CCA = BMW Car Club of America... I would assume anyway. ;)
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    But it seems Lexus attempts to put out the LEAST trouble-free.

    That may be the case but that does not prove that BMWs are notoriously unreliable.
    My 7 years of owning a 99 BMW323 has been a low maintenance/repair affair.

    My anecdotal evidence will not persuade anybody and should not persuade anybody. But it has certainly persuaded me to overcome any fears of buying a future BMW!

    Will I buy a BMW(most likely the BMW e90)? Maybe? All depends on how it compares with other vehicles during my own personal test drives.

    Bottom Line: Buy the car that excites you. If you focus solely on CR/JD Power stats you may end up owning a highly competent and reliable transport appliance (YAWN!!)
  • g17g17 Posts: 45
    "That may be the case but that does not prove that BMWs are notoriously unreliable."

    Thats relative. Compared to Lexus they are. Compared to Pontiac they may fare better....There's always exceptions. All I'm saying is Lexus generally appears to be on top in this category, and everyone else is looking up. An honest BMW or MB exec would admit that Lexus is a more reliable vehicle.
  • Bottom Line: Buy the car that excites you. If you focus solely on CR/JD Power stats you may end up owning a highly competent and reliable transport appliance (YAWN!!)

    Excellent point and that brings up another thought. I personally don't trust those CR/JD Power reviews because I use to work for a company that actually use to conduct he actual marketing surveys and compile the data for those publications. Some of the shady tactics that the various companies use,and truthfully they pretty much all do them, are what turned me off to those publications as reliable sources. I was on several of the marketing teams myself when I worked there and to be nice about it- the market studies are a joke. I honestly would say the auto enthusiast magazines are far more credible when it comes to long term reviews although it's major fault is that there is only 1 long term test car so the model's reputation can rise and fall on that one tester car.

    Edmunds is the best accessible source I have personally found as you can communicate with owner's although you should take some of the thoughts with a grain of salt like on any forum.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    First and foremost this forum is not about MBs!

    Also this forum is not about the brands BMW and Lexus!

    This is about BMW e90 vs. the Lexus IS!

    Have you looked at the stats?? Can you please point out statistically where the BMW3 had a below average rating for more than two years? Is the reliability that bad? I dont think so!

    My point is reliability may be the sole criteria for you but I am not buying a Maytag dishwasher, I am buying a car that will maximize my enjoyment! And that to me is the most important criteria in choosing a car!
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I personally don't trust those CR/JD Power reviews because I use to work for a company that actually use to conduct he actual marketing surveys and compile the data for those publications.

    It ceases to amaze me how anybody could use the CR and JD Powers as their sole criteria for purchasing a car!
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    SWTF?? What sort of warranty work in "your" '03 MB added up to $9K? What model was it? I've owned 4 MB's and 2 BMW's since 1997 and have NEVER experienced anything as you infer all MB/BMW owners experience. You may have noticed that the parent of Lexus - Toyota - has had several substantial recalls of late. If what you want is no hassles, just ride the bus :)

    I'm sure your Lexus dealer will be thrilled to sell you an IS and hope you enjoy it!
  • legarlegar Posts: 71
    Expensive maintenance over first 4 years (approximately 1k).
    I Agree!

    zero roadfeel - as if floating on a cloud

    I do not think this as a bad thing. I felt that the 325i isolated you from the road very well, which I thought was great; I dont wanna feel bad roads, it gives me a headache.

    With sport package, leather, comfort access that car stickers at 41k. European Delivery price minus BMW CCA rebate = 35.5k

    Wow, sounds really good, but tell me how much would it cost to fly 2 people out to Europe and to stay there for a couple of days just to get this deal? What about shipping cost?
  • legarlegar Posts: 71
    The exterior is instantly recognizable as BMW and it is a good looking car.

    Yes, the design is not bad, but I am talking about other things.
    The 330i looks great with those 18inch wheels, but the 325i with 16inch looks boring. The 16 inch wheels are ugly. The paint job looks cheaper then on the 330i. It looks like an average car, to tell you the truth I dont even notice BMWs on the road anymore.

    It is just basic simplicity- gauges, HVAC controls, sound system,

    basic simplicity = boring. I want something flashy, I want to get into the car that looks fun inside.
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