2019 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the ES Series and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, available blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series Sedan has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the ES Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 3 Series Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 3 Series Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine

The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 47 more horsepower (302 vs. 255) than the 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the 330i RWD (43 city/45 hwy vs. 26 city/36 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 3 Series Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The ES 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/35R20).

Chassis

The ES Series F Sport uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The ES Series has .4 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and 4 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series Sedan.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 14% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the BMW 3 Series by 9% during 2018.

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

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