2019 Lexus IS Series vs. 2019 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The IS Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the IS Series and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the IS Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series Sedan has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

The IS Series has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan (17.4 vs. 15.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan’s (34.2 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 3.8 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s (35.4 feet vs. 39.2 feet).

Chassis

The IS Series 300 RWD offers available 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.

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.

Ergonomics

The IS Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

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