Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW 3 Series VS 2015 Lexus IS Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2015 Lexus IS

Safety Comparison

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 Side and Top View Cameras 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.

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

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

232

274

Neck Injury Risk

36%

36%

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/434 lbs.

271/602 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

150

264

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

55%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

197 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

64 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

426/505 lbs.

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

5 Stars

Hip Force

184 lbs.

474 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

688 lbs.

691 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

291

295

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

806 lbs.

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

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, lubrication and any other required 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

The battery on the 3 Series Sedan is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 3 Series Sedan’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The IS Series’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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. hybrid

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.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 95 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 185) than the IS 250’s standard 2.5 DOHC V6. The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 277) than the IS 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the 320i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the IS 250 2.5 DOHC V6 (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.7 MPH

86.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 328d gets better fuel mileage than the IS Series:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

RWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. diesel/Auto

32 city/45 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

2.5 V6/Auto

3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid/Auto

25 city/33 hwy

n/a

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. diesel/Auto

31 city/43 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

2.5 V6/Auto

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

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

RWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)/6-spd Manual

23 city/36 hwy

n/a

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (240 HP)/6-spd Manual

22 city/34 hwy

n/a

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)/8-spd Auto

24 city/36 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

2.5 V6/Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (240 HP)/8-spd Auto

23 city/35 hwy

19 city/28 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

3.0 turbo 6 cyl./8-spd Auto

21 city/32 hwy

n/a

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)/8-spd Auto

23 city/35 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

2.5 V6/Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (240 HP)/8-spd Auto

22 city/33 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6Auto

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

11.7 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.4 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

214 feet

226 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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. The IS Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the IS Series.

The 320i handles at .95 G’s, while the IS 350 F Sport pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The 335i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the IS 250 (25.6 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the IS 350 F Sport (40 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 5.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the IS Series (96 vs. 90.2).

The 3 Series Sedan has 2.1 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more rear headroom, 2.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the IS Series.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 3 Series Sedan’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The IS Series doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

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.

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.

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.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

3 Series Sedan

IS Series

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

n/a

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its September 2013 issue and they ranked the BMW 335i xDrive first. They ranked the Lexus IS 350 AWD third.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 20 years. The IS Series has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 18 years. The IS Series has never been an “All Star.”

The 3 Series was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2006 Car of the Year. The IS Series has never been chosen.

The BMW 3 and 4 Series outsold the Lexus IS Series by almost three to one during the 2014 model year.

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