2019 BMW 4 Series Coupe vs. 2019 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 4 Series Coupe offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The RC only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the 4 Series Coupe and the RC 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The 4 Series Coupe’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the RC’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Coupe for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Lexus only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the RC.

There are over 43 percent more BMW dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 4 Series Coupe’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 4 Series Coupe’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC 300 RWD’s camshafts. If the RC’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The battery on the 4 Series Coupe is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 4 Series Coupe’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The RC’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The RC isn’t in the top three.

Engine

The 4 Series Coupe has more powerful engines than the RC:

 

Horsepower

Torque

430i Coupe 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

440i Coupe 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

322 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

RC 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 4 Series Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the RC:

 

 

 

MPG

4 Series Coupe

RWD

Manual

430i 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/33 hwy

 

Auto

430i 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/34 hwy

 

 

440i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

AWD

Manual

440i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

18 city/28 hwy

 

Auto

430i 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

 

 

440i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

RC

RWD

 

300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

 

 

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

 

300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

 

 

350 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 4 Series Coupe’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The RC doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 4 Series Coupe’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 RC doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the BMW 4 Series Coupe as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Lexus RC is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The 4 Series Coupe offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The 4 Series Coupe stops much shorter than the RC:

 

4 Series Coupe

RC

 

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 4 Series Coupe can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The RC doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 4 Series Coupe’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the RC (110.6 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

The 440i Coupe handles at .90 G’s, while the RC 350 pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The design of the BMW 4 Series Coupe amounts to more than styling. The 4 Series Coupe has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the RC (.29 to .3). A more efficient exterior helps the 4 Series Coupe go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the 4 Series Coupe get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 4 Series Coupe a Compact car, while the RC is rated a Subcompact.

The 4 Series Coupe has 6.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RC (90 vs. 83.8).

The 4 Series Coupe has .8 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 6.4 inches more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC.

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Coupe has a much larger trunk than the RC (15.7 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 4 Series Coupe’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The RC doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The 4 Series Coupe has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RC doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The 4 Series Coupe offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The RC doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The 4 Series Coupe’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 RC’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 4 Series Coupe to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The RC doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 4 Series Coupe offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The RC doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 4 Series Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The RC doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 4 Series Coupe has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The RC doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The 4 Series Coupe’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 RC doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW 4 Series comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Lexus RC isn’t available as a convertible or four door.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 4 Series Coupe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 4 Series Coupe with a number “1” insurance rate while the RC is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Coupe is less expensive to operate than the RC because typical repairs cost much less on the 4 Series Coupe than the RC, including $130 less for a starter, $353 less for fuel injection, $6 less for a fuel pump, $286 less for a timing belt/chain and $549 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Coupe third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RC isn’t in the top three.

The 4 Series Coupe was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The RC has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 4 Series Coupe was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The RC has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 4 Series outsold the Lexus RC by over 9 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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