Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW M3 VS 2014 Lexus IS Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW M3

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2014 Lexus IS

Safety Comparison

The M3 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 F doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The M3 offers optional City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The IS F doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The M3’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The IS F doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The M3 offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The IS F only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The M3’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 F doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

Compared to metal, the M3’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Lexus IS F has a metal gas tank.

Both the M3 and the IS F 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 and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The M3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the IS F’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M3 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 F.

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 M3’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

The M3’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 9 more horsepower (425 vs. 416) and 35 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 371) than the IS F’s 5.0 DOHC V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW M3 is faster than the Lexus IS F (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

12.1 sec

13 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

117.8 MPH

111.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the M3 Auto gets better fuel mileage than the IS F (17 city/24 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M3’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 F doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the M3’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the IS F:



Front Rotors

15.7 inches

14.2 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

13.6 inches

The M3 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The IS F doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The M3 stops much shorter than the IS F:



80 to 0 MPH

193 feet

210 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

120 feet

Road & Track

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the M3 has larger tires than the IS F (F:255/40R18 & R:275/40R18 vs. F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19).

The M3’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the IS F’s 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The M3 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 F’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M3’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the IS F (110.7 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M3 is .8 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than on the IS F.

The M3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.6% to 48.4%) than the IS F’s (53.7% to 46.3%). This gives the M3 more stable handling and braking.

The M3 handles at 1.00 G’s, while the IS F pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The BMW M3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 250 pounds less than the Lexus IS F.

As tested by Road & Track while at idle, the interior of the M3 is quieter than the IS F (43 vs. 52 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the M3 is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the IS F is rated a Subcompact.

The M3 has standard seating for 5 passengers; the IS F can only carry 4.

The M3 has 10.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the IS F (96 vs. 85.7).

The M3 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 F.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the M3 easier. The M3’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the IS F’s liftover is 28.4 inches.

The M3’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The IS F doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the M3’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The IS F 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 M3 offers an optional 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 F doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the M3 and the IS F have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the M3 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The IS F prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the M3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The IS F doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the M3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The IS F doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M3 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The IS F doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M3 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Both the M3 and the IS F have standard heated front seats. The M3 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the IS F.

On extremely cold Winter days, the M3’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The IS F doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M3’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 F doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

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

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

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