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BMW 535i vs Lexus GS 350 vs Audi A6

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  • BushwackBushwack Posts: 258
    Last summer I was torn between the 535, Lexus GS350 and M35. The 535 and M35 had a sportier ride the the GS. The 535 had the edge on performance of the three. I ended up discounting the M35 (did not like the dash and fit/finish was lacking between the three). I discounted the 535 due to reliability issues and iDrive (I did enjoy the acceleration and handling).

    I went with the GS350 as it was the sensible choice. Fit and finish were the best of the three, more then enough power then I'll ever need in real-world driving and most important,...reliability. If I was going to the track, I'd choose the 535. If I was shopping price, I'd consider the M35. But in the "pleasant" stop-and-go traffic of Los Angeles,..I made the right choice. Five months later and the honeymoon continues.
  • kgarykgary Posts: 180
    I looked at the same cars and went with an A6 4.2. Its funny how we can all look at the same cars and make different choices.
  • I have an '04 Acura TL with a 6-speed that I love but my wife can't drive it and we find ourselves needing to switch once in a while. We used to have a 3rd car that solved that problem, but that's gone so I find myself in the market. My 3 leading contenders are the BMW535xi, the Lexus GS350AWD, and the Acura MDX. She drives a Honda Pilot so I am thinking that two mid-sized SUV's is unnecessary.

    So I find myself torn between the 535xi (luxury and cold weather packages and logic7 audio) and the GS350 AWD with the Nav package. MSRP is 6K apart (50,999 for the Lexus vs.57 and change for the BMW) and I feel like I can get Lexus to move more than BMW will. I have driven both (I drove the 528xi and then the 535xi which immediately eliminated the 528xi as an option) and when I get in the Lexus I feel like I am getting in a car targeted at my father's demographic vs. mine. So I have a couple of questions:

    1) Does the sport package add any value on the Bimmer? 20 way power seats (vs. 10 way w/out) and some trim changes is about all I can see and I am not sure what those other 10 adjustments do for me. I will not get the 18" wheels due to previous experience with an E36 M3 and potholes in the midwest.
    2) Should I be concerned about the twin turbos and reliability? Consumer Reports says no, but they aren't exactly car people. Did the turbos come from the european market? Does anyone have any facts on the testing that was done? Or konw where I could look.
    3) I know this one is silly, but it's down to cupholders and ULEV ratings to help decide....the cupholders in the Bimmer look fragile and awkward.
    4) Why can't I just be smart and save 30K by getting a Honda Accord? That ones probably for my psychologist.

    Thanks.
  • I saved about 3,400 off of MSRP on the 535xi. I negotiated up from the wholesale price, not down from retail. Lexus is not doing well with the awd 350's - they were taken off the Consumer Reports recommended list (the BMW is still on it), so you might be able to get a good deal on the GS350 if that's what you decide on.

    1 - The 20 way power seats add backrest width, shoulder support, and thigh support adjustments (also 4 way lumbar, which is standard on the 535, but not on the 528). They are great seats. Stick with the standard tires, don't get the run flat tires if the roads are bad.

    2 - The turbo's reliability should not be an issue. BMW doesn't overload them to max out the horsepower and torque. You can even buy 3rd party software for the turbo 535 that has the same 4 year warranty as the stock bi-turbo and produces a maximum output of 384 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 421 lb-ft torque at 4300 rpm. Check out the link below:

    Dinan Engine Software

    3 - The cupholders are the worst part of the car. I believe that BMW's engines are EU4 and ULEV II approved. BMW is a green company. BTW, the reviewers knock the iDrive, but if you are comfortable with a computer mouse, you will enjoy the iDrive.

    4 - I was driving a "sensible" Camry, trouble free, and it bored me to tears. I like driving, but not if the car is a Camry or an Accord. On the other hand, my wife could care less ;)

    5 - Test drive them both!

    Hope this helps!
  • Regarding the seats on the 535Xi, I got the sport package on mine, as I wanted the 20 way multi-contour seats (never tried the standard seats) and shadowline trim (black trim around the windows). That also included the sport steering wheel (has polished metal trim on lower parts), but that was not a factor in my decision.

    You can get just the 20 way multi-contour seats as a stand alone option, for $100 less than the cost of the sport package.

    I stayed with the standard 17" wheels and tires as I was gun shy of RFTs and extra low profile tires from my experience with an '06 330Xi.

    The cupholders are not the strong suit of the car.

    Can't comment on the reliability of the turbos. I have owned my car since early July, it now has about 7500 miles, and I have had zero problems. I really really like the 535Xi.

    Bruce
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    The new body A6 3.2/4.2 is only 3 years old. Most 50k + cars like the BMW 5 series and MB E class cars don't get a major restyle for 5-7 years

    On the contrary, out of the 3 major German brands, Audi looks the most up to date and fresh, IMO.

    But of course, I drive a 06 4.2 A6 :)
  • jc07jc07 Posts: 5
    After extensive research & multiple test drives I just drove home a 2008 Audi A6 4.2 with every option except adaptive cruise. So far I am thrilled.

    I looked into the MB E-series, the Lexus GS series and of course the BMW 5-series. I had all but settled on the 535i. It is a rocket, luxurious w/o question and I love the way it feels and performs.

    But then I sat in the A6 and was blown away. I found the interior to be more than just a notch above the BMW -- in all ways the A6 was, for me, superior. And the Audi exterior, quite frankly, seems to me sleeker and less "busy" than the latest iteration of the 5 series. And finally, while the Audi is not a 5-series by any stretch in terms of road grip, handling and giddy-up, the A6 is a lot closer to the BMW than the MB or the Lexus. I found it to be an excellent choice for someone looking for a German alternative to the Lexus "ride on a cloud" feel but who also wants a Lexus-like set of creature comforts and interior. And the Audi's interior is really beautiful.

    All in all a two month search with two test drives per vehicle.
  • kgarykgary Posts: 180
    I also love the A6 4.2.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 216
    and I currently own a 3.2. I really like the 535. One major concern is the poor rear side crash test result. Does anyone know why the dismal rating?
  • Congrats on your new Audi A6!
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    There's something special about the 4.2 over the 3.2 V6. There's nothing like an Audi V8. I just love the engine whirl and how it sounds. It's one of those cars I like to turn the radio down and just hear the engine puur. Such a sweet sound.
  • jc07jc07 Posts: 5
    Agreed. The V8 & sport suspension really tops up the A6 and brings it a bit closer closer to the 5-series in terms of performance. The 535i/550 would still be my choice if I was an enthusiast for performance handling and road feel.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 216
    On rough roads (NYC) I did not like it. The stock 5 series has the perfect blend (suspension) IMHO. Wish my Audi felt that way.
  • As an avid BMW e39 owner who may very well elect to purchase the new 535SP, I must say I was very impressed with the new S5. It has the 4.2L V8 and it is a very sweet ride. Currently available only with 6M, it performs as a true touring/sports coupe should. Also a beautiful design in person - pics don't do it justice, IMO.

    I've driven the 335i Coupe a few times and found it also to exhibit everything I love about BMW. Sure would love to have the 535 & S5 in my garage! One thing I can say... my 2003 530SP has been nothing short of a tremendous ownership & driving experience! Gives me the impetus to stay in the BMW family, but that S5 sure calls my name ;)
  • Why worry so much about reliablility of the turbos. Trust me, if something goes wrong BMW will fix it. I have a 2003 7 series and have spent $0 other than uprading my maintenance plan which was just over $1000. Yes, I have had to bring the vehicle in plenty of times because something needed to be fixed, but they gave me a car to drive and I left there will a bill for $0. I got a 335i to drive a couple of times while my car was being serviced. WOW! Now that was a FUN car to drive. Slow down in the curves? For what? Just give it more gas!

    Again, if you are worried about have to shell out $$ for the maintenance of the 535, then talk with them about the maintenance plan.

    That's just my experience.
  • I must say I was very impressed with the new S5. It has the 4.2L V8 and it is a very sweet ride.

    I too like V8 performance. Try the 550i, you'll be very impressed!
  • cabluecablue Posts: 48
    I was trying to decide btwn the bmw and audi, also. I now have the 550i. I last had a 2001 530sp. I like the new body much better as far as size. Much more comfortable for me with passengers. The idrive is a pain! It's easy but inconvenient. You have to go thru multiple steps to just change stations. The newest bmws have improved a little in that regard. They now have some preset buttons. With the runflat tires, I get this forceful message when you just get a little low on air. It says, "Stop immediately!!!" The first time it happened it freaked me out. It's happened twice now and I tend to ignore it a little. I check the tire pressure and fill it up. No flats yet! As far as cupholders, the newer cupholders are tons better than in my 2001! I didn't think they'd be that good, but they're perfectly fine to me. I had so many spills in my old car. I agree with the fact that the Lexus is not for me. It's too small inside with very little headroom. Not sporty enough for me, either. I do like the Audi. It does get better side crash ratings. I also wish bmw had xm radio instead of Sirius. Minor issue. It's tough to move away from bmw once you've had one. Reliability on both have been excellent!
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    I drove a GS and an ES just to see what I was missing by driving BMWs. It turned out that I wasn't missing anything. The numb Lexus driving experience and the steering column made of rubber bands were immediate deal breakers. I also fundamentally object to paying $50K for a vehicle that's mass produced (to a significant extent) from parts that are designed to be cost effective in a $25K vehicle.

    The Mark Levinson stereo almost could make it worth it, though.
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    A BMW dealer can install XM satellite radio of you don't like Sirius.
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