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BMW 3-series vs Lexus IS



  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    But that's the point, one doesn't know if it's true or not either in a general sense or a specific sense. Just like one doesn't know if Lexus buyers just buy Lexus for the "L" on the hood.

    Very true... I think you could even make the argument against Lexus more than you could BMW or MB. After all, if Lexus buyers truly didn't care so much about the "L" on the hood, then they would all just buy Camrys and Avalons. ;)
  • think you could even make the argument against Lexus more than you could BMW or MB. After all, if Lexus buyers truly didn't care so much about the "L" on the hood, then they would all just buy Camrys and Avalons.

    Not true at all, at least for the cars that we are dicussion here. There has not been a Toyota RWD sedan since the Cressida of the 1980's. On the other hand, one can indeed get many MB parts and entire chasis in some Chrysler models.
  • That's correct. SMG and CVT are both automatics. Torque converter (or lack of) is only an implementational detail. Witness the SMG automatic in the current generation M3 replacing the torque-converter automatic in the previous generation. For both generations, the majority of M3 convertibles are sold with automatics in the US. Goes to show that for the majority of people, automatics are simply the logical choice given's life's necessities, just like having two rear passenger doors and having a sedan.
  • SMG and Ferrari F1 use high pressure systems that force gear out-of/into positions. Very fast forced shifts can be done, but the engagement is very abrupt (bang!) and probably harm the drive train in the long run. That's why they come with several different shifting programs, the majority of which involve rev-matching, which results in a more smooth/tolerabe engagement and do less harm to the drive train. Like I said, the need to rev-match after user selecting a gear is what really slows down the process; in a manual, the driver probably has to spend more time rev matching and disengaging clutch before even pulling on the stick anyway.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    The following engine will make the 3 series even more competitive than what it is now(assuming it will be used in a 3 series).

    A new biturbo straight-six for BMW

    When combined with the efficiency and flexibility of acclaimed BMW VALVETRONIC and double-VANOS technology, the new engine is able to produce an immense 225 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. It is armed with a Table Mountain-like torque profile that defies the term curve. Peak torque of 400 Nm is delivered between 1,500 rpm and 5,800 rpm and the engine boasts a 7,000 rpm red line.

    The biturbo six-cylinder has the same power and more torque than the muscular 4.0-litre V8 engine fitted to the 740i. The new engine further entrenches BMW as the manufacturer of the world’s most intelligent, advanced and dynamic engines for the enthusiast driver. However, in keeping with BMW philosophy, the substantially enhanced performance does not come at a substantial cost to the environment. Fuel consumption, previously a bug-bear of high-performance turbo-charged engines, has been radically reduced thanks to high-precision direct petrol injection, used for the first time on a BMW six-cylinder motor.

    Turbo lag banished by intelligent biturbo technology

    BMW biturbo

  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    In the past BMW used to have aluminum engines versus the current magnesium aluminum engines found in the 3 series

    My question to fellow forum members is why did BMW choose an all-aluminum engine for their biturbo version instead of magnesium-aluminum?
  • You do realize for all intents and purposes the transmission in the M3 whether it's SMG or the clutch and stick variety are the exact same with the exception of the SMG clutch is robotically actuated. SMG is a true manual transmission, not a automatic transmission. You may need to refresh your driving experience in those transmissions again and drive the IS right after it. When you flick the paddle on the SMG or DSG it's in gear, there's no gear hunting involved. Hence why the gear changes can sometimes feel abrupt if done at a high RPM. I like rough and abrupt though, so while that may not be the most favorable feeling for you, the floaty Cadillac-like Lexus steering is a turn off for me.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    favorable feeling for you, the floaty Cadillac-like Lexus steering is a turn off for me.

    In fact Lexuses may not be floaty enough for all those old time former Buick/Cadillac fans. Just look at some of the comments in this forum:

    link title
  • Well that's just sad. I hope I don't get that way when I get that old...
  • I know fully well the mechanics involved in various transmission and trasaxle systems. SMG is an automatic despite its similarity to manual in its innerworks. SMG is an automatic simply because
    (1) it offers modes where user does not have to select gear at all;
    (2) it does not involve manual clutch engagement
    (3) (the most important of all) for drivers who are not able or not willing to drive manual, SMG allows single-handed driving while the other hand is occupied with a phone, a GPS receiver, a burger, a hair brush, a shaving blade, what-not ;-)
    (4) it does have electronic nannies that lock out attempts at shifting into lower gears that would cause over-revving

    In addition to SMG and fluid and impeller-based torque converters (as in most automatics since a GM patent circa WWII), there is a third implementation of automatic trasmission: CVT. All three are automatics because they allow operation modes that do not require direct user input on engine-to-wheel RPM reduction ratio.

    Most people consider smooth shifting trasmission (whether automatic or manual) a pre-requsite to buying a $30k+ car, or even a $12k+ car. If you like loud banging and a kick in the pants every time you shift a gear, you only need to let your ATF or trasmission oil run low for a couple weeks; or simply remove the synchro . . . or look for a used Yugo.
  • Pretty sad going through all that trouble for a mere 15% power increase. Looks like indeed BMW is not able to make a 3.5 inline engine developing significantly more power than the current 3.0 without serious cost and/or packaging difficulties. Making a 3.5 engine is easy, making a 3.5 inline engine without requiring engine lengthening is also trivial (increase stroke without changing bore, hence more torque but next to no increase in power, like the 2.5 to 2.8 upgrade in the mid-90's), but making a NA 3.5 inline that makes significantly more power (ie. increasing bore) is significantly more difficult for packaging into the short distance between firewall and crumple zone, as I alluded to nearly a year ago.
  • Maybe they just don't want to step on current M3 owners toes seeing as how the 3.2 L I6 (S54) develops more power than what they are advertising... ;)
  • Magnesium can not handle the high temperature and high stress (torque) brought on by the turbo. In the current engines, the cam cover and crank case are made with maganesium with aluminum insert (to take the heat and stress). Apparently there is not enough engineering margin to handle the turbo. From the readings, this is a very low pressure turbo. In the realm of massive high pressure turbos, even aluminum engines were shunned in favor of all-steel engine blocks.
  • The marketting emphasis is on quick turbo engagement without turbo delay; that necessitates a very light turbo, which usually means little power increase. It's entirely conceivable that BMW may swap the turbo for a high pressure one after the V8 M3 is here.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I dunno..using your logic then the Steptronic is actually a manual. I do agree the SMG( or whatever) has an automatic function, but with a torque converter it is not an automatic tranny, it is a manual with a servo.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Pretty sad going through all that trouble for a mere 15% power increase."

    That's because BMW tunes their engines incredibly well.. It's still a 3L engine that produces over 300 hp and doesn't have to be redlined at 9K to do it.

    "Looks like indeed BMW is not able to make a 3.5 inline engine developing significantly more power than the current 3.0 without serious cost and/or packaging difficulties"

    It doesn't look like anything. Your statement is mere speculation unless of course you have some authoritative information regarding this statement.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    It's still a 3L engine that produces over 300 hp and doesn't have to be redlined at 9K to do it.

    HP in itself is very impressive for a 3L engine. But in this case it is more about the impressive torque than the HP figure.

    Based on the specs I can say that this will be one gem of an engine.

    Just one problem. I was told by a sales rep that the biturbo will sell during summer only as a 335ti coupe and convertible. Unfortunately such a car does not suit my family man lifestyle
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    Makes sense. Thanks for the answer.
  • dewey,

    most people in japan ride trains and bicycles to work. it is no secret that the rich japanese people who can afford cars (not many) like foreign cars better. that is just the japanese. i highly doubt that erases the fact that lexus dusts all the german car companies in sales in north america. geez.

    with the IS, RX, and ES lineup you actually think bmw has a chance??? BMW SELLS ONE CAR THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CAN AFFORD. the average american cannot afford a 5 series unless they were living with mom and dad their whole entire life. i think you are here posting trying to convince yourself that the IS is so far off from the 3 series it just can't possibly deplete bmw sales.

    it is a shame with all your meandering posts one the facts are the facts. forget about racing through a slalom to work everyday. the IS is hands down the best CAR in this class. the IS has got this 3 series blown away in the interior looks and exterior. it smokes the daylights out of a manual 330i.

    you guys are all a joke for trying to make the case that the bmw 3 series is so superior a driving machine to the IS. oh my goodness!!! you guys want to act like the IS drives like a camry. even a IS300 can outbrake and outhandle a 330i. it is not like the differences are that noticeable on the track. geez. i've driven a 04 325i coupe for crying out loud and there is nothing to get excited about compared to an IS300. i highly doubt the new IS line drives like a boat and the 3 series is just so superior.

    i highly doubt the average american gives a rip if the 3 series can out slalom a IS350. in april 2001 a IS300 outslalomed AND outbraked the vaunted 330i. the steering on the IS300 got a superior rating as well. holy cow!!! now we have all these clowns talking about how much better a bmw must be to DRIVE than a lexus. back then the IS300 was outhandling the bmw and but IT WAS SLOWER, THE INTERIOR WAS CHEAP WITH TOO MANY PLASTICS. well now what??? we got all these clowns trying to make the case that the bmw 3 series is like a jet fighter and the IS is nothing but a learjet??

  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    So…your nod goes to the IS?

    i am sure you read it. accept the fact that bmw can make a so called "driving machine" but they can't make a real car to please the average driver. their vaunted idrive is just one of their many egregious shortcomings.

    here is a quote for the both of you from car and driver who still crowned the vaunted 3 series number one in this entry-level class.

    "Our 330i labored had to lose. The electrical ticks began shortly after it was delivered. The new 3-series has a push-button start. Ours would work only after several exasperated pushes and fiddling with the key. Why, we wondered in the free moments this created, must you even insert the "key" into the dash when many push button systems, including the IS350's allow the radio-transmitting key fob to roam free??"

    hmmmmmmmm it gets even better after this

    "Then the ABS lamp lit. We tried to execute one stop on our high-desert test road and nearly executed a 360 spin at 70mph instead (thus our braking number is from a previous test). Shortly thereafter several airbag-malfunction warnings lit up. Maybe it was just a coincidence."

    "Even with its dash ABLAZE in emergency alerts, the 330i wormed its way into our hearts. The 3 series is the BMW franchise,accounting for 60 percent of the company's sales." (doesn't this sound like dewey wrote this article for car and driver?)

    again, nobody here wants to admit that the 3 series is king of sales in this class because it is the ONLY BMW OPTION FOR THE AVERAGE BUYER WORLDWIDE.

    "The new 3's interior, although beautifully tailored with wood accents and leather sport seats, didn't satisfy all. The radio display is hard to read and harder to operate, the A/C struggled in the heat, and the dash is a meniscus that curves coldly away from you."

    i think i can guarantee you all that the lexus IS350's sound system and A/C can blow any bmw's off the planet. the IS300's can definitely blow any 325i's A/C and stereo system off its rocker.

    nevertheless IVAN AND DEWEY!!! in CAR and DRIVER THE VAUNTED MANUAL 330i beat the IS350 213 points to 212. just in the quotes i have posted for you both the BMW DESERVES TO BE DOCKED AT LEAST 5 POINTS. geez. and that is being nice.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Yeah…that review left a lot to be desired; all those indicator lights.

    But…they still rated the BMW first…not me; as did Edmunds. Is there a comparison where the IS won?

    As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t purchase a vehicle based on others reviews, but winning the majority of comparison tests is at least noteworthy.

    I have not driven the new IS or 3 series and have no intention to. As it is best to keep an alcoholic out of a bar…it’s best to keep me out of dealer show rooms.

    Who knows, if I were looking for an automatic I may too choose the IS.
  • Good post man!
    You are completely right especially about how the 2001 IS300 out perfomed the 330 in the slalom and every other car in its class...hands down, although it was slower and they gave it to the BMW now the roles are reversed and they still go with the 330.

    I do like the BMW but come on editors you guys seem to be BMW biased. Is it really that good...Im sorry, I hear what you say about 0-60 isnt everything but it is for a car in this class, not just straight line either but 5.6 is fast, faster than the bmw performance package on the previous BMW. ...well i have more to say but I have to go will post more later....
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Talk about the cars all you want. But please do not make differences of opinions into personal confrontations. If your beliefs about the vehicles have, um, legs, they will stand up by themselves without your flinging mud at folks who have other views. Trust your beliefs to do just that without getting ugly.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "with the IS, RX, and ES"

    Which one of these models is actually affordable to the AVERAGE AMERICAN you mention in your post? One maybe, the IS250. The RX and ES are not afforable, loaded they are in the same range as the unafforable BMWs you mention. And I "dare" you to find a stripper model that is actually affordable.

    "IS300 outslalomed AND outbraked the vaunted 330i"

    Yeah and so what, do you drive around cones? Or do you step on the gas going around a curve. In real life slalom has little to do with on-road performance, I thought you would know that. BMW doesn't necessarily "win" in every category, but when it comes to piloting a car down the car road it can't be beat.

    One more thing, if a BMW wins a review the editors are biased, but if a Lexus wins a review the car deserved it? :confuse
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    I actually found the article difficult to read…my mind started to wander while I read sentence after sentence about cup holders…then turn signals?!?

    Ok that was the Convenience section. Their biggest complaint about the 330i was iDrive. I would assume that most people would try this OPTIONAL feature before buying. They made the assumption (as accurately I suppose) to choose the automatic because most people would. I’m not sure…would most choose iDrive? If not…why choose it for the comparison if they are equipping what most people would choose?

    Design, ok they liked the IS, I like the 330i better (substantially)

    Comfort, it’s hard to get in the BMW? I’m still relatively young. Strangest thing was the reference to the IS rear seat. They write “But sport sedans are not purchased for generous rear seat room or copious dimensions. Buy a Lexus LS 430 if that’s your bag”…ok but the IS gets the vote on convenience because of cup holders? But the rear seat room is written-off on a 4 door sedan? How about “Sports sedans are not purchased for generous cup holders. Buy a mini-van if that’s your bag”.

    Driving, they gave to the 330i

    So…Convenience, Design, Comfort and Driving all seem to have equal weight.

    For me,
    Convenience 25%
    Design – 0% to 100%, too personal to be rated…unless it’s something a hideous as an Aztec
    Comfort 25%
    Driving 50%

    They definitely seemed to like the IS better
  • No. Steptronic is not a manual because it has an operating mode in which no user input is _required_ on reduction gear selection. Even the traditional PRND32L can accommodate user input if one is inclined to, but it's the mode that allows operation without _requirement_ of user input that makes it an automatic. Furthermore, the lack of manual clutch engagement is what makes SMG an automatic. Torque converter is only an implementational detail. If automatics were defined by torque converters, how would one classify CVT? Automatic has to be defined by the ease with which one can operate the car; whether the "automatic" mechanism is done by CVT, torque-converter or SMG is an implementational detail. Also, a car with only one fixed gear but requires manual clutch engagement is also a manual (like the earliest cars). Manual clutch engagement is what makes a car "three pedal" and _requires_ additional training as well as attention during operation.
  • That's because BMW tunes their engines incredibly well.. It's still a 3L engine that produces over 300 hp and doesn't have to be redlined at 9K to do it

    Let's see, Toyota accomplished that in 1993 (Supra Turbo, 320hp on 3L), Nissan in 1991 (300ZX, 300hp on 3L), and Mitsubishi in 1991 (3000GT, 300hp on 3L). If you meant the "incredibly well" tuned description for the non-turbo engine, Acura NSX as early as 1991 had close to 300hp from 3L without turbo.

    It doesn't look like anything. Your statement is mere speculation unless of course you have some authoritative information regarding this statement.

    It's an educated assessment much better grounded than claimng turning out a 3L turbo engine making 300hp in 2006 is a manifestation of "incredibly well" engine turning. If you paid attention to the BMW literature on the R6 engine back in 2004/5, you'd notice much emphasis was put on making the engine as short as possible (the section on using single auxilliary belt) and an explicit admission that the I-6 is one of the longest engines out there (the section on valve cover casting). What does that say about the prospect of enlarging the cynlindar bores by 15%? Not bloody likely in the forseeable future is what any thinking reader would conclude.

    The article on R6 is linked below; try to skip the fluff market-speak and read the nuggets of facts between the lines:
  • To be completely honest, IMO Lexus took a step backwards with the new IS. The old IS (Altezza) was a better driving experience than the current one. The new IS does have a nicer interior, better sound system/ electronics, and the IS350 is very fast but that's where the pluses stop for me. The old IS just felt better and if they would have stayed on that track I think they would have built a better 3 series fighter. They have managed however to build a better MB C-Class/ Audi A4.

    The way I see it this class is split into 2 segments really and they just happen to be in the same price range. You have the sports sedan "enthusiast" market who are more likely to go after a BMW, Acura, or Infiniti. Then you have the sport sedan "luxury tourer" crowd who more than likely will like Lexus, Mercedes, and Audi over the aforementioned. To continue to suggest that one is better than the other is pointless because they both have their markets and it's best to just pick the better tool for the job at hand. The Lexus will probably be considered the most "comfortable." The BMW will probably be considered the most fun in the the twisties and open road.
This discussion has been closed.