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2013 BMW 328i M Sport vs. 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Premium vs. 2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport Comparison Tes

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,130
edited September 2014 in BMW

image2013 BMW 328i M Sport vs. 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Premium vs. 2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport Comparison Tes

We pit the 20113 BMW 328i M Sport, 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Premium and 2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport in a comparison of $45,000 sport sedans.

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Comments

  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    C'mon Lexus, it ain't that hard, stick a proper engine in that IS250, sheesh.
  • blackdynamite3blackdynamite3 Member Posts: 5
    Interesting comparison. The BMW is clearly the best. And it offers a manual, which Lexus doesn't even bother. Hard to be called a legit sports sedan without even the option of a the sportiest transmissions.

    Strange lineup if this is a $45k shootout. The BMW and Lexus have similar prices, but the Cadillac gets to start at $45k and go up from there? Talk about a home-field advantage!

    For the Cadillac 2.0T BASE price, you would have a Lexus IS350, with F-Sport package, and money left over! Something tells me if the IS350 F-Sport were sent for $45k, which is doable, the Cadillac ends up in last place. A distant last.

    The Cadillac is pretty expensive for something that was fighting for last place, not first.
  • blackdynamite3blackdynamite3 Member Posts: 5
    And the Cadillac had AWD? Why? I would expect it to win the handling tests with AWD.

    $7k more expensive than everything else, AWD, and it still almost came in last?

    Let me know when you have an apples-to-apples comparison. This isn't it.
  • autopalautopal Member Posts: 13
    Not at all surprised with this results. With 204 hp and 185 pound feet, a 0 to 60 time of 7.5 sec, I don't see how you could classify the Lexus as a "sport sedan" I would also like someone to dyno both the ATS and the BMW together, as it's either BMW grossly under rate the power of the 328i, or the Caddy hp is grossly over rated. This ATS is a solid effort from Cadillac, but BMW just keep moving the bar, sensational fuel economy for a car this fast.
  • thedream21479thedream21479 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a used E92 M3, but now I almost wish I would have bought a new 328. As phenomenal as the M3 is, I'm using it to commute to work and occasionally a mountain road jaunt. I bet I could have had just as much fun in the 328i with way better fuel economy...high 13 sec 1/4 mile with low 30's mpg...that's incredible. The 17 mpg mixed driving in the M3 is getting old.
  • realitycheck3realitycheck3 Member Posts: 3
    It is getting old how biased your opinions of BMW's are. Running either stripped down or overly optioned out competition to better the BMW's standing is becoming clear to your readers and it's just plain old now. For example: The 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L RWD can be purchased currently for $45,990 with nav and all options which would easily trump that $45,745 2013 BMW 328i M Sport Line which you just happened to leave out the MANY options that any normal person would have to pay extra for pushing a comparable 2013 BMW 328i M Sport closer to $49,931. Almost $4k more with far less performance or quality. Like I said, start comparing apples to apples and start providing some honest reviewing Edmunds. Your losing readers for a reason.
  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    realitycheck3 makes a good point. You could have easily optioned an F-Sport IS 350 and still undercut the price of the base BMW 328i. Hm, thanks for checking me there, realitycheck3.
  • joefrompajoefrompa Member Posts: 64
    Curious how the BMW would have done if Edmunds had appropriately spec'd it out with the sport line and dynamic handling package (adjustable suspension) rather than the "M-Sport" package (which is primarily a body kit, interior touches, wheels, and a nice steering wheel).

    That lower slalom speed is somewhat surprising. But man, the base model is pulling a 13.8 quarter mile? That is frigging awesome. I'm reading that the 328i can pull a 13 second even quarter mile on pump gas with a tune and downpipe.

    I was all about going down the n55/335i route, but that is one amazing 4 cylinder in terms of combining power and economy.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    They could have used an IS350 and and V6 Caddy and there still would not be much difference in the ratings - all the tests of those cars I've seen have 0-60 in the mid-fives and high-13 quarter-miles...about what the 328i does here. It's simple - the Lexus here probably has fairly accurate power figures; it just doesn't have much power, and it's peaky. The Caddy is making the advertised power, but its powerband is not terribly wide for a turbo engine...it's that simple...and it has only a six-speed tranny. The 328i, in typical German fashion, is making the advertised crank horsepower at the wheels rather than at the crank, makes that power clear out to 7k rather than dying at 5800 like the Caddy, and it has an 8-speed transmission. Basically, with their underrated engines and more efficient transmissions, a 328i performs as well as Cadillac's and Lexus's V6 models, and a 335i performs beyond anything they can do. Then also ya gotta love the million-year-old Turanza tires Lexus uses.
  • duck87duck87 Member Posts: 649
    @autopal: They did dyno both the BMW and ATS engines:

    http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/dyno-tested-2013-cadillac-ats.html

    The BMW's engine is superior in the smoother powerband and sustained power into higher RPMs (the ATS was pulling timi
  • autopalautopal Member Posts: 13
    realitycheck3, the impressive thing about the 328i is the 0 to 60 time of 5.4 sec, 13.8 sec quarter, and over 33 mpg. Numbers that the ATS can't touch, regardless of options and price. Its kind of funny, that it appears the 328i is faster than even the V6 variants of these 2 competitors. Does that means that the 335i is in a class of its own?
  • frank908frank908 Member Posts: 48
    I can't get over how dull the 3-series looks compared to the others. It's not because of the others flashiness, it's because the BMW's overtly conservative styling ends up looking boring. I thought I would like that blue color myself, but man, it makes the car look cheapy.
    I prefer Bangle's influences over the generic Eurobore style.
  • kevinmiamilakevinmiamila Member Posts: 3
    If I opt a 3 series with the M sport, tech, premium, and lighting pkgs it hits well over 51k.

    For that price I'd take an Audi A6 2.0 premium plus. Yes it's a different level however why not. Why have a 3 when I have an A6 within a 1-2k price level.

    I wonder why the Cadillac 2.0 performance (42k-49k) wasn't used since the IS used the F sport, and BMW the M pkg.

    I rented a 3 a few weeks ago. I found the front seats to be very uncomfortable.
  • huybuihuybui Member Posts: 0
    The BMW's steering is woefully bad. The engine and tranny are good once you press all the buttons to make it perform enthusiastically. It's not a bad car for the reason you cited, but its not one I could buy. And lets see how long term ownership goes... I mean after warranty. Yes, if you have the money to drive one until warranty is up, then you are golden. This is not to say I am picking on it because it won... the other cars aren't really worthy of winning either and you guys made that clear.
  • joefrompajoefrompa Member Posts: 64
    Huybui - Curious what model you test drove? There are 4 distinct models when it comes to steering feel. I'll rank them in order of what I feel offers the best/worst.

    4th - XI models
    3rd - Base models
    2nd - Sport models
    1st - Sport/M-Sport models with dynamic handling package

    I've found over the years the steering sucks consistently on the XI and base models.

    However my test drive of a sport model with dynamic handling package was quite good. I'm coming from an e39 m5 which had hefty, but not great, steering so bear that in mind.

    Is it as good as an ol rack and pinion, hydraulically assisted, e46 m3? No. But it's good.
  • gpmillar31gpmillar31 Member Posts: 6
    Why would you select the Lexus IS250 and not the IS350? Of course it is slower. The only thing I can figure is you want to make Lexus look bad. Lets put the 350 model in next time. This isn't a fair test.
  • saunupe1911saunupe1911 Member Posts: 9
    It's not the engine or chassy that's giving the 328i the advantage. It's the new 8 speed ZF trans. I have one in my wife's 2013 Charger and I must say its a magnificent piece of engineering. The Charger averaged 32 MPG highway this weekend, so you know what it can do in a lighter vehicle. Also acceleration is brisk and smooth as butter. These transmissions are changing the game. Ford and GM better wake up and get that joint venture 9 speed transmission out the door quick.
  • 1987xjug1987xjug Member Posts: 1
    What a crappy review. First of all everyone on the planet drives the BMW so there is no uniqueness to having that car. The IS is just plain hideous as are most Japanese cars and your comments about build quality, interior, seats, steering wheel and instrument panel are vastly superior" is really subjective.

    I've driven Mercedes for years and evaluated the 3 Series, and the ATS but ignored the ugly Lexus. The ATS is a much more attractive car and unique in so many regards. In real world driving by real people the ATS is more than a match for the 328 especially in terms of power plant, efficiency and interior. The BMW is bland and characterless. As a matter of fact as you rightly point out the ATS out performs both cars and returns better mileage. The trunk space is more than adequate and with the folding rear seat, voluminous.

    Personally I hate what the government did to the taxpayers and giving away GM to the UAW, but this is a damn fine car that is world class in every respect. I love my Black & Red 3.6 Premium and the upgraded wheels you shunned are stunning.
  • stevowillcostevowillco Member Posts: 4
    I am just curious that if this is a test to see the best luxury sports sedan for 45k why didn't you get the IS 350 to be in this comparison. Could have easily been done within the price range. Being that your biggest complaint against the car was underpowered that seems to be the logical step to do. I know you want to compare apples to apples so comparing Lexus' bigger V6 against the smaller engines from the other manufactures doesn't seem comparable. But when the price is that big of a swing and the title of the comparison seems to be comparing cars under 45k then it would seem fair to compare the best vehicle each company can offer within that price range to truly see who is offering the best vehicle in that price range.
  • saunupe1911saunupe1911 Member Posts: 9
    IL,

    I thought you guys would have touched on that 8 speed a lot more though. Think about it. All 3 cars are extremely similiar in weight, overall size, steering feel, and overall handling. Yet you say the 328i is in a class of its own on the highway even though it produces around 276 HP at the crank, which is close to the ATS. The 8 speed is the real advantage over the other 2. It's in a class of it's own. That last gen 6 speed in the ATS is just outdated. GM and Lexus focused strictly on chassy improvement and caught up to BMW (or even surpassed BMW) in some areas. But both cars has last generation powertrains. It's back to the drawing board for them, or pull a year later powertrain refresh like Ford did with the 5.0. Better yet, GM needs to take last gen's CTS philosophy. Build a car that flat out surpasses the competition all areas. Don't even make it close, starting with better transmissions.
  • joefrompajoefrompa Member Posts: 64
    1987xjug - I tend to agree that some of the comments are subjective, but for me the ATS' interior is clearly a half to full step below the 3-series and Lexus. I think it's a styling thing combined with materials.

    I would also say that describing the ATS trunk as "voluminuous" is an exercise in descretionary adjective usage :)

    The ATS trunk was, to me, just too small. It reminded me of a '99-2006 BMW 3-series trunk. Perfectly adequate for lots of people, sure. But definitely not voluminuous.

    The 3-series is not either, but it's larger and pretty close to a good sized trunk.

    To me, the ATS is ultimately the better driver. It's more engaging with it's steering and suspension tuning. The 3-series just will not fully regain it's mojo until the steering is adjusted.
  • jamesonsviggenjamesonsviggen Member Posts: 1
    You can also get into a 335 with more standard equipment than the 328(moonroof, lighting package) for $43k. You skip the MSport package which is largely cosmetic. But you will be paying to get more power which might not make things BETTER per-se. The 328 gives numbers that mirror the ATS 3.6, C350 and IS350. So why the need to bring the extra power of the 335 which is faster yet in a straight line. So who cares if you can buy the 3.6 ATS or IS350 to get the bigger engines when the 328 seems to get the job done just fine.
  • yamahr1yamahr1 Member Posts: 9
    Can't really go by any Edmund's comparison. They rarely show much objectivity, especially when there is a GM product in the mix. "Show us why we shouldn't hate it" is generally their starting point going in with GM. Obviously the reverse is true with BMW.
  • gofortheneckgofortheneck Member Posts: 42
    Edmunds prefers BMW? Yawn. And bigger yawn!!

    So what else is new? I thought the title of this sub-site was "What's Hot"!

    Clearly Edmunds editors don't have a clue about the temperature of their readers or cars! If they did, they'd stop making non-news.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    "Lexus and BMW are still in the just-past-Beta phase of development on their infotainment systems, while BMW has firmly established technology."

    Not sure about that phrase: Did you mean "Lexus and Cadillac are still in....", as Cadillac's CUE system is very recent?
  • huisjhuisj Member Posts: 1
    I'd rather go to Chicago for a slice of pizza than to New York. I'd even go to Detroit for one over New York.

    The mileage in the BMW is pretty darn impressive.
  • nedmundonedmundo Member Posts: 33
    In terms of powertrains, the IS250 seems to match more closely to the base ATS with the 2.5L NA four, and the 320i, which is probably underrated at 180 hp and 200 lb.-ft. That would be an interesting comparison, though I'm not sure the base ATS has an available sport suspension like the others, and I'm not sure how they compare on price. Regardless, I'm a little surprised Lexus went with carryover powertrains for the IS, and relies on a relatively weak V6 to compete against powerful turbo fours. (Heck, that 2.5L V6 more closely resembles the four in the TSX. Sheesh.)

    I agree with joefrompa about the steering in the new 3 Series; it's surprisingly bad, but with all the criticism leveled at it from Car & Driver and other hard core Bimmerphiles, I expect it to improve soon, probably for the 2014 MY. I'm surprised the Edmund's reviewers didn't say more about it.
  • engineer_mbaengineer_mba Member Posts: 11
    I am inclined to agree with BD. This comparison is not entirely fair since the Cadillac is saddled with all-wheel-drive while the BMW and Lexus are not. Perhaps the results (test numbers and conclusions) might have been different if the Cadillac were rear-wheel-drive like the other cars in this comparison.
  • stovt001_stovt001_ Member Posts: 799
    The AWD for the Caddy must be a typo, as the LT fleet ATS is indeed RWD, like the others in this test.
  • rustyw2446rustyw2446 Member Posts: 1
    As someone in the industry who often researches automotive competitive comparisons for the advertising community. I have to agree with the sentiments here. Compare a 3.6L V6 ATS vs. comparably-equipped competitors -- with ballpark pricing that includes normally expected features, yet with MSRP not necessarily being the primary driver (as is often the case in this segment anyway) -- and I think you have a new winner.
  • hpracing007hpracing007 Member Posts: 0
    It is a base engine to base engine test. If they did bigger engine IS and ATS to base 328i, ya'll would complain even more.
  • gkcmilnergkcmilner Member Posts: 0
    Pricing is out on the 2014 IS and the IS 350 F-Sport is closer in price to the BMW 328i and Cadillac ATS 2.0 (the IS 350 is actually a bit cheaper). You should compare comparably priced cars.
  • shatnershatner Member Posts: 176
    These are all overpriced and bad examples of configuarations of these cars.
    The Lexus with the F package is very funny, although not a bad choice for a well off person to buy a young driver that just want to look like they have a fast car.
  • typer_801typer_801 Member Posts: 29
    To rustyw2446 and his prediction the 3.6L V6 ATS would be victorious over the other two (IS350 and 335i). Didn't pan out, came in third. IS350 moved to first.


    http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=833436
  • cotakcotak Member Posts: 89
    All lux manufacturers have an IS 250. The BMW is the 320, The merc is the bottom end c-class etc etc.

    The point of those cars were never to win these comparison or the hearts of motorheads. They are bread and butter machines for the hoi polloi who buys its for the badge. They never make sense from a price/performance point of view and at times don't make sense from a price/luxury feature point of view either.
  • sfrunner_sfrunner_ Member Posts: 1
    Your comparison is titled "Finding the best 45K Sport Sedan" and might be accurate if you had included the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti G, Acura TL and Volvo S60, all of which could have easily been included and generously optioned under $45,000. Declaring, then, that the 3 Series is the best is disingenous at best when the playing field was arbitrarily limited to 3 particular makes.
    I don't disagree that the BMW was the best in this particular batch of cars but the results would have obviously been very different had your test included every available "Sport Sedan" in the Luxury Class.
    Design is clearly subjective but I can't think of a more horrid and disjointed front end design than that of the "Spindle" grille on the Lexus. It is truly vile. Your remark that the Lexus interior is "awkward" is an understatement. The plastic covering the passenger side airbag looks like something out of a Toyota Yaris.
  • 330i_zhp330i_zhp Member Posts: 55
    @ realitycheck3 - "The 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L RWD can be purchased currently for $45,990 with nav and all options"

    Oh really? MSRP for the 2013 3.6 RWD Luxury (base) starts 41,195 and starts at $46,695 for the Premium (highest), before any opt
  • realitycheck3realitycheck3 Member Posts: 3
    2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L RWD PERFORMANCE is $44,590 add, cold weather pack $600, nav info system $795 and your at $45,985... The BMW was not tested with the Driver Assist Package so I left it off this one also. Besides that no other options are worth adding because more is included base than BMW offers. If you compare the BMW they used with its options to this they are the closest match up. From your name "330i" I can only guess your a BMW fan but in this case the ATS is a better purchase and better product. For the record I own both a 550i xDrive and my girlfriend has the 3.6L ATS and when we go out, the ATS is used more just so you know where I am coming from.
  • jederinojederino Member Posts: 0
    Wow, the comment that surprises me most is the ATS lacked driver feedback. I was under the impression this was one of the best RWD chassis out there, and here it reads less involving than a Lexus.
  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    Holy Moly! 40 comments! Who knew such a review could spark such a furor!
  • stovt001_stovt001_ Member Posts: 799
    40 comments was a low comment count back in the Inside Line days. Comparos over there would get into the triple digit comment counts fast.
  • drjohn43drjohn43 Member Posts: 0
    Interesting that the new issue of Car and Driver compares the six cylinder version of these three cars and the comparo results are
    1. Lexus 350 F
    2. BMW 335i
    3.Cadillac ATS 3.6
  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    @stovt001: Ah, yes, I remember those days. Even today I prefer the red borders to today's blue ones :/
  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    @drjohn43: Cool, thanks for letting posters know, I'll be sure to check it out. Someone wrote here that the BMW 328i is faster than the Lexus IS350 F-Sport. To my knowledge, even though the 328i gets close, this claim is still patently false (I say patent
  • lions208487lions208487 Member Posts: 240
    @realitycheck3- I couldn't agree more. The AWD 2.0T premium is priced out at 40,575, and their own publisher, but different editor at Road and Track reported consistent 5.8 sec to 60 with the 2.0 ATS.

    C/D review is very cliche.
  • lookatmyshoeslookatmyshoes Member Posts: 0
    Agree is not an apples to apples comparison under 45k you have the A4 S line or even a Volvo S60 T6 AWD both of cars are a much better option no question.
  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    Not to mention, the 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport outpaces the 2014 BMW 335i in the slalom despite having lesser tires and a lower-rated engine. Something to be said about its engineering for that feat. Needless to say, a comparably priced BMW 328i would be even slower. Slalom figures are more relevant in the twisties.
  • bizzle1bizzle1 Member Posts: 0
    If it were my money, I would go for the ATS hands down...
  • a1c_scga1c_scg Member Posts: 0
    Good read.
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