BMW 550i vs Lexus GS 430

bigmojobigmojo Member Posts: 3
Ok, looking for some OBJETIVE opinions. No brand bashing please.

I am finally in a position to buy either the 550i or a Lexus GS430. For those of you that have either owned or had the opportunity to drive both a new 550i and a new Lexus GS430 what made you pick one over the other?

It appears that the Lexus is refined luxury with a hint of fun, while the BMW is an exhilarating machine with some luxury injected into a rather spartan interior.

Is the extra 7k for the BMW worth it?

Any maintenance issues? I don't want something I have to leave at the dealer on a regular basis.

I have been going back and forth for 3 months now, and can not make up my mind.

I drive about 30k a year so comfort/luxury is high priority. At the same time the car needs to excite me or I will want to get out of it in 18 months and probably lose my tail.

Any insight into what made you chose one over the other would be greatly appreciated.



  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    They are pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum. Why not try the Infiniti M45? BMW handling, Lexus luxury and reliability. A (comparison test) winning combination :)
  • 2001gs4302001gs430 Member Posts: 767
    My 2 cents:
    In term of engine power, the BMW 550i is topping the GS430 so you might want to wait for the new engine to make better comparison. I am not crazy about the styling of either cars. The BMW looks good from the front and rear, but I can not stand the side views. The GS can use some of the new LS460 head/tail light treatments.
  • houstonmerchoustonmerc Member Posts: 65
    I recently considered the same cars (and M45) and have a GS430 (Flint Mica / Grey) on order. I think you've indicated the strong points of each. To me it came down to looks and comfort mostly. I think the GS430 is the best looking car in its segment exterior, and one of the best interior. The 5 series has been batterred in the press for styling. I have actually gotten to like the exterior styling somewhat but not the interior. One thing I had to get used to on the GS was the smallish interior and trunk. Ultimately I decided that while it is smaller than these other cars, the space is usable and as much as I need. I can put a large bag and a set of golf clubs (in travel bag) in the GS and I rarely need to carry more than that. Also with the driver's seat down there is adequate headroom in the GS. The legroom is somewhat less but again not that big a deal to me.

    As to driving excitment, I'm sure the 550 wins there but that's not my main criteria. The 430 is plenty fast for me. I don't want to wait a year for the new engine but that would be good if you can wait. For a while I was considering the 550 more due to it having BMW's new 8 cylinder engine.

    Lastly, Lexus service and quality were big points on the GS side. I've had an E320 for the past 6 years, and while not as bad as I'm hearing for current Mercedes, I think the Lexus will be better for realiability.

    One thing that I actually put in the 550 side of the ledger is synthetic oil and only needing service every 10-15 miles; I love that about my E320.

    Good luck.
  • hpia4v2hpia4v2 Member Posts: 62
    You've seen the objective things about these two cars. physical size, displacement, acceleration etc. I don't think anybody can add anything to them.

    The subjective stuffs:
    I drove 530, no 550i at 2 dealers mostly due to MY changes, and it was very good. So I know the 550i with SMG will the the one for me.
    The dashboard is not very jaw-dropping, but again I am used to BMW interior so it's probably just that. From memory, the Lexus leather is top notch but again if I want luxury seating I can just stay home reading book in my Italian sofa, not even a Lexus can beat that.

    I pick 550i over any Lexus cause I am who I am, I value driving on Oregon coast twisties or highway 20 here in Pacific northwest over luxury. Other may like the luxury of burl walnut and soft leather on the Lexus or play with it's sophisticated NAV system.

    I love to get dirty in my garage, other like to get pampered at the Lexus dealer.

    One thing about BMW 4yr/50000 mile FREE maintenance is rather over-sell. I always changed my oil on my car at 7500mile or 6 mo which ever comes first. Heck I even changing the transmission oil on my X5 even when BMW says it's a lifetime fluid. Like I said I am who I am.

  • bogeyfree66bogeyfree66 Member Posts: 3
    I think you've summed it up yourself; the Lexus is a luxury car first, and a sport car second. The BMW is both and seems to win out in head-to-head comparison. The key is what YOU are looking for. The BMW is exciting, powerful and a German beast. The Lexus is stylish but a tad less exciting, not as much "umph" behind the wheel.

    For me the decision was tough, but in the end I took German engineering. Someone later pointed out a Lexus from 2002, and it looked like an outdated car. Then I looked at a BMW from 2002 and saw what I would see in 4 years; a car that I would still be satisfied in and want to try. That was all I really needed and my 550 is on the way from Germany today. Good luck.
  • bigmojobigmojo Member Posts: 3
    Thanks everyone. I am leaning toward the 550 for sure. If I get the GS430 I will want the GS450h. In the spring of 07 the 430 will seem anemic and I will want the GS460.

    If I get the 550, well...there is not much to go up to is there? Not within reason anyway. ;-)

    I think your comment about the 02 Lex looking dated, and a 2002 BMW still looking good, new, and fresh is dead on.

    Thanks again for all the input!
  • chicagojoechicagojoe Member Posts: 14
    I am making a very similar decision. I am leaning towards the 550i for the following reasons.

    First, Lexus is phasing out the GS430 in favor of the hybrid. The GS450 is stunning but I think the silent operation, numbing CVT and the puny trunk just doesn't work for me. I am pretty sure the trunk can only fit one golf bag at most (8 cu ft).

    I like the styling of the Lexus and in fact prefer it to the BMW but if I am going to spend $60k for a car I want it to put a smile on my face. The 550i does exactly that.

    As far as pricing I really don't think they are that far apart. The Lexus will come in at $60k and the 550i at $65. Big deal!

    Best new feature of the BMW in my mind are the seats in the 2007 car. The upper part of the seat adjusts seperately from the rest. As a tall guy with longer torso I always have a problem with the position of the upper seat when I am reclined enough to drive. The BMW curls up to meet my back and neck. Hell! That is worth $5k to me alone!!

    Can't go too wrong either way. I know others will through the M45 in there but in my opinion it is boring on the outside and way too trendy on the inside. I think that dash will look funny in a few years. BMW may not be the flashiest car but I think the exterior and interio fit nicely together.

    BOTTOM LINE - Everyone in the class compares itself to the 5-series. Just get the real deal.
  • jjdowjjdow Member Posts: 20
    I hear the controls on the BMW are complex?

    I'm looking at a BMW for the first time. I'm getting ready to trade my 2000 CLK430... its been a very good car and I want to trade it while its still worth something.... and I'm ready for a little larger and more luxurious. I had a 2000 GS300 and it was very soft.

    I'm alos going to see the 2006 E350 with the Sport package, and will look at the M. I guess we are lucky we get to pick from these cars? thanks
  • chicagojoechicagojoe Member Posts: 14
    We are lucky indeed. I don't think the controls will be that bad although they will take some time to learn.

    Drove the M45 yesterday. I can't see what all the hype is about. Yes I drove very well but I can't see someone who is looking at a BMW buying one. It tries way too hard with shiny chrome everywhere and a dash that jumps at you in every direction. Three years from now the dash will look very dated. Also, the yellow glow of the dash actually hurt my eyes. The knobs feel very cheap. Yes it has ever feature but I think they are all cheaply done.

    The E350 is a nice car but I find the design a little too girlish.

    But, you are right, I think you will get a nice car no matter what your decision.
  • jjdowjjdow Member Posts: 20
    Ok, after driving these and the E500, I leaning towards the E500. I like the thinner appearance to BMW... just my preference. I've been test driving it in "Sport II" setting and although the seats dont hold me as tight as the CLK, I think the E corners almost as well. It's certainly quieter... I think I'm ready for that after 6 yrs in the CLK. I think its a great combo of the Lexus for quiet luxury and the BMW handling in Sport II.

    The torque in the E when you drive it in manual shift mode is way more than I can use around Houston. I hear the new E550 are going up to 379HP or so.... just cant see needing more than the 308 the 2006 has....

    Finally, I've got a line on a 2006 demo with 5600 miles for $6K under invoice... nice car for $53,500. I'll make a final decision over the weekend and let you'll know. thanks
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    I hear the new E550 are going up to 379HP or so.... just cant see needing more than the 308 the 2006 has.... .

    I saw a recent review of the E550 and, in addition to 25% more horsepower than the outgoing E500, it received very high reviews for suspension improvemnts and design refinements.
  • yoyo16yoyo16 Member Posts: 2
    Again, if you want to keep the car past the warranty don't buy a BMW. On top of the high upfront cost, the cost to maintain is expensive. Go look at any reliability ratings and BMW is always near the bottom of the class with some exception in the 3 series. For me, I love the driving of the BMW, but the problem is you are always driving it waiting for something to break. In my opinion the better option is the Lexus. If you want a bit better performance to match the BMW, then do some mods on it and have the best of both worlds while saving yourself some $.
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