Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 BMW 3 Series VS 2013 Lexus IS Near Phoenix, AZ

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2013 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2013 Lexus IS

Safety Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The IS Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The IS Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The IS Series doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The IS Series doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The IS Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The IS Series doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

Compared to metal, the 3 Series Sedan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Lexus IS Series has a metal gas tank.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the IS Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Lexus IS Series:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Lexus IS Series:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the 3 Series Sedan earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the 3 Series Sedan’s weight before being crushed five inches. The IS Series was rated lower at “Acceptable.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the 3 Series Sedan with power recline seats is safer then the IS Series:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

44 mm

70 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

23 mm

52 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Torso Acceleration

11.9 g’s

13.8 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Shearing Force

51

68

Max Neck Tension

631

692

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the 3 Series Sedan as a “Top Pick,” a rating only granted to 147 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The IS Series was not a “Top Pick.”

Warranty Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the IS Series’ (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan 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 IS Series.

There are over 77 percent more BMW dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the 3 Series Sedan’s reliability will be 12% better than the Lexus IS Series 2WD and 34% better than the Lexus IS Series AWD.

Engine Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the IS Series:

Horsepower

Torque

320i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

180 HP

200 lbs.-ft.

328i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

335i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

ActiveHybrid 3 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

IS 250 2.5 DOHC V6

204 HP

185 lbs.-ft.

IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

306 HP

277 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the 328i is faster than the IS 250 (manual transmissions tested):

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

7.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.5 sec

19.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99 MPH

90 MPH

Top Speed

154 MPH

142 MPH

As tested in Road & Track the 328i is faster than the IS 350 (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

14.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.5 MPH

98.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the ActiveHybrid 3 gets better fuel mileage than the IS 250 RWD (25 city/33 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the IS Series:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

2WD

320i/Manual

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

328i/Manual

22 city/34 hwy

n/a

335i/Manual

20 city/30 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

328i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

2.5 V6

335i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

19 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6

AWD

335i/Manual

20 city/28 hwy

n/a

328i/Auto

22 city/33 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

2.5 V6

335i/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The IS Series doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 3 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The IS Series doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 3 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the IS Series:

320i/328i

335i

IS 250

IS 350

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.65 inches

13.15 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.45 inches

12.2 inches

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the IS 250 are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the IS Series:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

80 to 0 MPH

219 feet

224 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the IS Series’ optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 3 Series Sedan offers optional 19-inch wheels. The IS Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 3 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. Run-flat tires aren’t available on some tire packages on the IS Series.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The IS Series’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the IS Series (110.6 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the IS Series.

The 328i handles at .91 G’s, while the IS 350 pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The 328i goes through Road & Track’s slalom 7.7 MPH faster than the IS 350 (69 vs. 61.3 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the IS 350:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

At idle

39 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

76 dB

50 MPH Cruising

60 dB

67 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the 3 Series Sedan is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the IS Series is rated a Subcompact.

The 3 Series Sedan has 10.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the IS Series (96 vs. 85.7).

The 3 Series Sedan has 3.1 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 4.5 inches more rear legroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the IS Series.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 3 Series Sedan easier. The 3 Series Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the IS Series’ liftover is 28.4 inches.

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The IS Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Ergonomics Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The IS Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 3 Series Sedan and the IS Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 3 Series Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The IS Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 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 IS Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 3 Series Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The IS Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The IS Series doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 3 Series Sedan offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The IS Series doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the IS Series offer optional heated front seats. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the IS Series.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 3 Series Sedan (except Manual/320i) 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 IS Series doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The IS Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the 3 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 3 Series Sedan will cost $440 to $2575 less than the IS Series over a five-year period.

The 3 Series Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the 3 Series Sedan will retain 57% of its original price after two years, while the IS Series only retains 56%.

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