2019 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2018 Buick LaCrosse

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/29

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The LaCrosse 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 Gran Coupe and the LaCrosse 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

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

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Gran Coupe for 1 year and 12000 miles longer than Buick pays for maintenance for the LaCrosse (3/36,000 vs. 2/24,000).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Gran Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The LaCrosse isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 3 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

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The 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 54 more horsepower (248 vs. 194) and 71 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 187) than the LaCrosse’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (322 vs. 310) and 64 lbs.-ft. more torque (332 vs. 268) than the LaCrosse’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the 430i Gran Coupe is faster than the Buick LaCrosse V6:

4 Series

LaCrosse

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

14.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

4 Series

LaCrosse

2WD

440i/Auto

21 city/32 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

V6/Auto

AWD

430i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

440i/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

V6/Auto

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Buick only offers a regenerative brake system on the LaCrosse eAssist.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s brake rotors are larger than those on the LaCrosse:

430i

440i

LaCrosse eAssist

LaCrosse V6

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the LaCrosse are solid, not vented.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe stops much shorter than the LaCrosse:

4 Series

LaCrosse

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

173 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the LaCrosse’s standard 50 series tires. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the LaCrosse Essence/Premium’s optional 40 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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The 430i Gran Coupe handles at .89 G’s, while the LaCrosse Essence pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the LaCrosse’s (37.1 feet vs. 38 feet).

Chassis

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe is 1 foot, 2.8 inches shorter than the LaCrosse, making the 4 Series Gran Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe has 1.5 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more front legroom than the LaCrosse.

Cargo Capacity

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the LaCrosse (17 vs. 15 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the LaCrosse’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 4 Series Gran Coupe. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 4 Series Gran Coupe is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the LaCrosse. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 7% lower rating, Buick is ranked 9th.

Ergonomics

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The LaCrosse’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the 4 Series Gran Coupe the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the LaCrosse can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Comfort Access standard on the 4 Series Gran Coupe allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick LaCrosse’s Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 4 Series Gran 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 LaCrosse’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 4 Series Gran Coupe detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the LaCrosse offer available heated front seats. The 4 Series Gran Coupe also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the LaCrosse.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 4 Series Gran Coupe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 4 Series Gran Coupe with a number “1” insurance rate while the LaCrosse is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 4 Series Gran Coupe will retain 44.99% to 47.5% of its original price after five years, while the LaCrosse only retains 42.39% to 43.68%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is less expensive to operate than the LaCrosse because it costs $306 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4 Series Gran Coupe than the LaCrosse, including $32 less for front brake pads, $383 less for front struts and $96 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/29

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

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

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

The BMW 4 Series outsold the Buick LaCrosse by almost two to one during 2017.

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

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