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BMW 3-series vs Lexus IS



  • One of the problems with the GS and ES are the cars are a little too big. I live near a city and I value a car that is fairly compact, easy to park with a good turning radius, and fairly fuel efficient. The ES, 2006 Camry at least is too much float... 2006 GS a little too much $$$ and the used versions guzzle gas.

    My ideal car for daily driving would be a perhaps a foot longer then the new VW GTI with the DSG automatic that perhaps drove a little more aggresively then an Accord and had the interior luxury and reliability of a Lexus GS300.
  • lexus_jnlexus_jn Posts: 102
    Agreed. but the brand with quality reputation like Lexus won't cost you a fortune in the long run as compared to BMW...well, this perhaps does not matter if you have tons of cash in hand. Having said that does not mean you're taking high risk by keeping a BMW after warranty period. Rather it's one of the factors to choose the brand to own. I picked IS over 3-series for many reasons and one of them is that I tend to keep the car for a while (at least 5 years or more)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Tried the Acura TL? The 6-speed version I have comes standard with a stiffer suspension, high performance tires and Brembo brakes, so it's not an "isolation" car. But the automatic is a little softer and may be the compromise you are looking for.

    I think you need to drive the 325i and IS250 over the "rough highways" yourself. One man's "bumps" are another driver's "feedback", so, as with a lot of things, it comes down to a subjective feelings and relative priorities.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "fortune in the long run as compared to BMW"

    I disagree. I know people who have dumped a lot of money into the Lexus and BMWs. I know people who have dumped little or no money into their Lexus and BMWs.

    We can certainly start to cite on-off examples of this type of thing, but I do agree that statistically a Lexus will probably be more trouble free than a BMW, but that doesn't mean the BMW will cost a fortune or the Lexus will be trouble free.
  • Thanks.. You have a nice car. I've ridden in the automatic TL as a passenger so I'm sure the automatic Acura TL would not be that jarring of a ride. The TL is a little too big for my needs, however, so I have considered a used 2006 TSX as well. If the TSX had a smaller turning radius and was a bit faster with the automatic, I'd be hard pressed to pay the premium for a Lexus IS250 or BMW 325i.

    I will try both over rough CA highways. I wish CA could learn to pave its highways like Florida...
  • potemkinpotemkin Posts: 196
    "...the brand with quality reputation like Lexus won't cost you a fortune in the long run as compared to BMW..."

    Wrong. Just because you've got a friend of a friend who's had issues with one is no more relevant to your argument then the fact that the BMW I've had for 11 years now has cost me less than $1,000.00 in repair costs over that time. All you're doing by buying a Lexus is slightly improving the odds that you won't have a "trouble" car.

    CR, which collects aggregated data on the subject, rates the 2003 BMW 3-series a 5 out of 5 in overall dependability*.

    Your continuous and erroneous persistence that the 3-series is somehow unreliable is contradicted by CR and getting tiresome, to boot.

    Besides, anyone that insists that reliability is that important a factor in a car purchase should avoid any car with an automatic transmission like the plague. (There's a whole industry built around repairing those things.)

    *CR 3-series rating.
  • mikegillermikegiller Posts: 602
    "Good, but too expensive."
    2003 BMW 3-Series 325i
    By: J from VA
    Owned: 2 years
    Review ID: #483171
    7.9 Overall Rating

    8 Styling
    8 Performance
    7 Interior
    8 Quality
    8 Recommendation

    The brand name BMW.

    We had some small problems with lights, steering, etc. Small things but we had to bring to dealer to fix. That's not quite pleasant. The car is noisy. Not powerful enough. Too expensive.

    Overall Review:
    Good car. But not excellent one. For the money you can have much better car out there.


    It might have to do with reviews like this, that give a car with several problems '8' for quality.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Geez, you can find great or poor consumer reviews on any car (or any thing!).... For example:

    Date Posted
    06/16/2003 Disappointed by Pathdoc
    2003 Lexus IS 300
    Style: 4 Dr STD Sedan Rating 7.6

    Ratings Detail
    Performance 8.0
    Comfort 8.0
    Fuel Economy 7.0
    Fun-to-Drive 9.0
    Interior Design 7.0
    Exterior Design 7.0
    Build Quality 7.0
    Reliability 8.0
    Rating 7.6

    Review: Great handling. Needs more power. Disappointed by clunking noise when shifting 5 speed (District Operations Manager finally admitted a design flaw in dual plate flywheel) Quirky auto climate control searches for right cabin temp. Dealer service arrogant and indifferent. Not what I expect from Lexus! Now have a dashboard rattle
    Favorite Features: Responsive handling. Don't see yourself coming and going.
    Suggested Improvements: More power-30-50 HP. Redesign flywheel to eliminate noise. Smooth out climate control logic. Teach dealership what customer SERVICE should be.

    See? Picking out a single review means absolutely nothing...
  • mikegillermikegiller Posts: 602
    Of course it can't.

    BUT! - I don't see too much in those reviews anyways because it is hardly a reliable way of judging a car's reliability out of ten. See what I mean? You helped me prove it!


    NOTE: I did not mean to say that the BMW 3-Series was a car with bad reliability, but that the reviewer's car had bad reliability and did not deserve an 8/10 for quality.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    BUT! - I don't see too much in those reviews anyways because it is hardly a reliable way of judging a car's reliability out of ten. See what I mean? You helped me prove it!

    NOTE: I did not mean to say that the BMW 3-Series was a car with bad reliability, but that the reviewer's car had bad reliability and did not deserve an 8/10 for quality.

    I guess I'm still missing your point about how this is specific to a 3-Series.....

    That IS 300 review complains about design flaw in the flywheel and a rattling dashboard. Yet they give Build Quality a 7/10?

    Again, this is just one example, but people review any car the same way -- often times very "off" in their numerical vs verbal review.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Here is a link to a site that gives a quick questionnaire and determines what type of Sports car YOU are.

    My wife was a Lamborghini Murcielago and I was an RX-8…so it may be a little flawed :confuse:

    Which Sports Care Are You
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    lol, I am an RX-8 myself.

    Me an RX-8, I dont think so?

    Maybe the site is jointly funded by Lamborghini and Mazda?? :surprise:

    Also the following survey question is more catered to one gender than another:

    Do you like to go topless in the summer?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'll be damned, I am my car (911). After two tries that is. First time I was a Ferrari 360.
  • lexus_jnlexus_jn Posts: 102
    My above statement did not single out 3-series. I was just thinking it could be one of the reasons why Consumer Report did not recommened any 3-series models to buyers.

    I re-post these comments below to support my argument that 2006 IS is a better built car than 2006 3-series in many categories. Please don't get me wrong...I am not saying 3-series has poor reliability but I can't be wrong to claim it has uncertain reliablity.

    Customers Speak Out
    Comments on this vehicle from our customers
    Articles and reviews for the 2006 325i Sedan

    Autobytel Consumer Rankings
    This is how our customers ranked this vehicle. Maximum score is 100.
    Average scores:
    For the BMW 3 Series: 81
    For all vehicles: 91

    Detailed average score based on 5 reviews submitted for this vehicle.

    Comfort: ( 80 )

    Performance: ( 88 )

    Quality: ( 64 )

    Look: ( 92 )

    View Customer Test Drive Reviews for this vehicle.

    Submit a review for this vehicle.

    General comments

    "The car is very stylist,flashy,you can't beat the 4year 50,000 mile warranty on everything including normal wear parts such as brake pads,rotors and anything you can think. Good buy for the money."
    Frederick S. (Memphis , Tennessee - January, 2006)

    "Had to peel me out of the passenger seat the drive tore around hairpin turns and beyond jackrabbit starts, it was awesome! I'll probably never drive it that way but it is reassuring to know that it can handle fierce turnes and raging stops and starts!"
    Chattaroy , Washington - September, 2005

    "Okay so BMW is more classy than a Honda, VW, and what not (maybe?), but I have had serious problems with mine. Not just minor service requirments but major issues. I have had to have the car towed twice. The first because the car was shaking violently. They needed to replace the coils in the engine. That took a week and they did not have a loaner car for me. I had to rent one. Then it died on my in a parking lot and had to get a tow truck to the dealership. It was not the battery, they had to replace the fuel tank. Then a few months after that all the brakes had to be replaced. BMW is a great ride yes, but reliability no. "
    Belmont , California - February, 2006

    "The appearance of the car is beautiful and that's where it stops. The first thing you notice is the whiney transmission. It sounds like an old Ford pickup. The road noise is very loud. The car was using oil every 1200 miles and finally they replaced the engine at 10000 miles. I had the car back for two weeks and they had to replce the steering rack. I talked to BMW USA and asked that the car be replaced and they claimed that I should wait and see if other problems come up. Is this the BMW experience they talk about in their ads. The dealership has been very accomodating, but trying to get BMW to live up to commercials will not happen. This has been a horrible experience."
    Nick C. (Valparaiso , Indiana - February, 2006)

    "My new 2006 325i is spending it's 4th day in the service dept at BMW of Austin. The first time it was towed in, I had the harness replaced. My car suddenly died outside of Austin. Roadside assistance took 3 different tow trucks to get the car, because it locked up and shut down in park. Luckily we were on a dirt road, not the highway. The next visit was for an oil pressure issue. And it is back again for the same issue."
    Austin , Texas - August, 2005
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I think most of us know how to track down reviews here and elsewhere. Let's stick to our own thoughts and opinions instead of copying and pasting other people's reviews - that seems much more appropriate.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Heh…my wife filled it out for me and got the 911 as well. I think when I filled it out I “sugar coated” some of the answers…such as…I’m not competitive.

    911…I told my wife…in a few years maybe I can be my true self :)

    I’m not sure if this is an in-depth Dr Phil psychological analysis, or it was created by some guy living in his parent’s basement…either way it is kinda neat
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "I was just thinking it could be one of the reasons why Consumer Report did not recommened any 3-series models to buyers."

    That's news to me. Seeing as how I see a number of years that CR recommended and continues to recommend the 3 series.
  • mikegillermikegiller Posts: 602
    "Again, this is just one example, but people review any car the same way -- often times very "off" in their numerical vs verbal review."

    That is exactly what I said, so I don't think you are missing the point, really.

    The same thing was true of both reviews of both cars...
  • mikegillermikegiller Posts: 602
    I am a Murcielago!.... I think I am more of a V8 Vantage though. :P
  • lexus_jnlexus_jn Posts: 102
    "That's news to me."

    I don't know the real cause why CR did not put 3-series on its recommended models. This also surprises me.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The IS has a little black circle next to it.

    But your right, the 3 series for this year, did not get the check. I wonder if it hurt sales? :confuse
  • digital_bdigital_b Posts: 129
    I owned an automatic Tl. there is no difference in the suspension period.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    You're wrong. Period.

    From the Acura TL website - "suspension specifications":

    Front: 1.0 in. diameter (25.4 mm) x (4.5 mm)
    0.18 in. wall thickness
    Rear 0.67 in. diameter, solid (17.0 mm)

    Front: 1.07 in. diameter (27.2 mm) x (5.0 mm)
    0.20 in. wall thickness
    Rear: 0.79 in. diameter, solid (20 mm)

    Acura TL

    Those differences are significant enough that Acura does not offer the Automatic with a high performance tire option. Those tires require a stiffer suspension so as to keep the tread flat on the road surface and avoid excessive wear of the edges. Something that Lexus engineers were out to lunch on when the former GS400 was offered with 17" performance tires on a soft suspension. Lexus ended up in at least one class action (a business colleage was a claimant) and gave out a large number of free (non-performance) replacement tires, plus a refund of the oxymoronic "sport" option. One would hope they learned that lesson on the IS, but they certainly don't follow BMW's mantra - "make the suspension faster than the engine".

    Frankly, if you couldn't tell the difference in the driving feel, handling, body-roll etc. between a TL automatic and TL 6-speed, any opinions that you would have on Lexus vs. BMW driving dynamics have lost all credibility with me. I'd be the first to admit I can't tell the difference between a $8 and $80 cigar. But I could tell the difference between a TL automatic and TL 6-speed in a heartbeat. I don't try to opine on fine cigars.... ;)
  • digital_bdigital_b Posts: 129
    so you really believe those miniscule numbers made a difference? I am not going to go over the research I did before I bought my TL because frankly I dont care what you think. I have never made mention my thoughts on 3 series vs IS driving dynamics because I have never considered a 3 series. perhaps you could pay closer attention to what someone types before overreacting to it. if I recall correctly the TL tire diameter was at the time exactly the same so tire wear was expected to be similar.this is according to acura's own information. you have read the brochure havent you? there was also an 18 inch option if I recall. as it is I now OWN a brand new IS. do you own any of these cars? if not then so much for your 'credibility'.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    This is not the discussion for arguing about the TL.
  • davd1958davd1958 Posts: 3
    CR Needs to stick to Rating Refigerators and toasters thats thier problem,
  • Habitat1 - So you own a new IS? I actually am trying to decide between the G35 and the IS 250. So far in my book, the IS leads in every category except for backseat size and tires. But I rarely have anyone in my backseat so don't see it to be that big of deal. The IS mostly comes with 18 inch tires which drastically reduces the miles you get on a set of tires. Looks lize, I jst don't like how the G35 looks compared to the better looking IS. PLus, I work with an dealeship owner who over 50 stores across the country, all manufacturers. I asked 3 people to choose between the IS and the G35 and they all said the IS easily. Better looking, better resale and said the G35 model is old and time for a redesign. Besides, I don't want a BMW, everybody has one of those.
  • mikegillermikegiller Posts: 602
    Check out the IS 350 and IS 250 forums. It is busy lately and I have the same dilema. IS 250 vs G35? I think the IS 250 sport package. All the time, I keep comming back to the IS in my mind.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    No, I don't own an IS, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night... :surprise:

    Seriously, I own a TL 6-speed and a 911S Cab. After hearing all the rave reviews of the IS350, I did test drive one just out of curiosity. I have not driven the IS250.

    If backseat size is not important to you, I would suggest comparing the IS250 (or 350) to the G35 coupe 6-speed. It has nearly 100 more horsepower than the IS250 and a sportier suspension than the G35 sedan, not to mention much better styling. I suspect the coupe might also have better resale than the sedan.

    Good luck.
  • mikegillermikegiller Posts: 602
    I think that the G35 Sedan has better styling in some respects. If interior quality is important, then the G is not a good option, in my opinion. I still can't get past the fact at how much less it costs, though. That fact alone is tempting.
This discussion has been closed.