Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2008 BMW 6 SERIES VS 2008 Lexus SC430 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2008 Lexus SC430

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the BMW 6 Series are height adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Lexus SC430 doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

The 6 Series has standard Crash-Activated Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Crash-Activated Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The SC430 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the 6 Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The SC430 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 6 Series’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The SC430 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 6 Series has a standard backup radar to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. This collision warning system uses radar to detect obstacles behind the rear bumper. The SC430 doesn’t offer a rear collision sensor.

Compared to metal, the 6 Series’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Lexus SC430 has a metal gas tank.

The 6 Series has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The SC430 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the 6 Series and the SC430 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The 6 Series’ corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the SC430’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 6 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Lexus doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the SC430.

There are over 73 percent more BMW dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the 6 Series’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the 6 Series’ engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The SC430’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the SC430’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 6 Series has a standard 170 amp alternator. The SC430’s 100 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 6 Series is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 6 Series’ battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The SC430’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

The 650i’s standard 4.8 DOHC V8 produces 72 more horsepower (360 vs. 288) and 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (360 vs. 317) than the SC430’s 4.3 DOHC V8. The M6’s standard 5.0 DOHC V10 produces 212 more horsepower (500 vs. 288) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 317) than the SC430’s 4.3 DOHC V8.

As tested in Consumer Reports the 650i is faster than the Lexus SC430 (automatics tested):

6 Series


Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

103 MPH

96 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 6 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the SC430:

6 Series



Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

12.1 inches

The 6 Series stops much shorter than the SC430:

6 Series


80 to 0 MPH

196 feet

218 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

121 feet

Road & Track

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the M6’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the SC430 (F:255/40R19 & R:285/35R19 vs. 245/40R18).

The 6 Series’ optional 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the SC430’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 6 Series offers optional 19 inch wheels. The SC430’s largest wheels are only 18 inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 6 Series offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Lexus doesn’t offer an active suspension on the SC430.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 6 Series’ wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer than on the SC430 (109.4 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 6 Series is .5 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the SC430.

The 6 Series Convertible handles at .91 G’s, while the SC430 pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 6 Series Convertible goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 5.3 MPH faster than the SC430 (64.5 vs. 59.2 MPH).

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the 6 Series Convertible is rated a Subcompact car by the EPA, while the SC430 is rated a Minicompact.

The 6 Series Convertible has 7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the SC430 (82 vs. 75).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 6 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the SC430 (10.6 vs. 8.8 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The 6 Series offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and navigation instruction readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The SC430 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The SC430’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The 6 Series’ standard doors lock when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

The 6 Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The SC430’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 6 Series to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The SC430 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The 6 Series’ standard power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The SC430’s standard power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The 6 Series’ standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The SC430 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter with a charcoal activated canister removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the 6 Series’ passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The SC430 doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 6 Series offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The SC430 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The 6 Series’ standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service available in a limited number of metro areas.) The SC430’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The 6 Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the 6 Series will retain a greater percentage of its original price after two and four years than the SC430.

6 Series


Four Year

48% to 49%


Two Year



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