2020 BMW 2 Series vs. 2019 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the 2 Series 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and rear parking sensors.


The 2 Series’ corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the RC’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 2 Series 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 2 Series’ warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 2 Series’ engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC’s camshafts. If the RC’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The battery on the 2 Series is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 2 Series’ 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 2 Series second among small premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The RC isn’t in the top three in its category.


The 2 Series has more powerful engines than the RC:



230i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

M240i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

369 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.

As tested in Car and Driver the M240i is faster than the RC 350 (automatics tested):

2 Series


Zero to 60 MPH

4.3 sec

6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.3 sec

14.5 sec

Quarter Mile

12.7 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111 MPH

100 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

146 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 2 Series Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the RC:


2 Series Coupe



230i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

M240i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

19 city/27 hwy


230i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

M240i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy



230i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

M240i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy




300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy



300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 2 Series’ 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 2 Series’ 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 2 Series as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Lexus RC is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.


The 2 Series offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The 2 Series Automatic’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The RC doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

The 2 Series stops much shorter than the RC:

2 Series


70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 2 Series 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.


The BMW 2 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Lexus RC.

The 230i is 10.3 inches shorter than the RC, making the 2 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 2 Series Coupe a Compact car, while the RC is rated a Subcompact.

The 2 Series Coupe has 6.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RC (90 vs. 83.8).

The 2 Series Coupe has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 5.7 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC.

Cargo Capacity

The 2 Series Coupe has a much larger trunk than the RC (13.8 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The 2 Series 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.


The 2 Series’ 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 2 Series 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 avoid possible obstacles, the 2 Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RC doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 2 Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The 2 Series 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 2 Series’ optional Parking Assistant can parallel park 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 2 Series comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Lexus RC isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 2 Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 2 Series with a number “1” insurance rate while the RC is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 2 Series is less expensive to operate than the RC because typical repairs cost much less on the 2 Series than the RC, including $185 less for a starter, $85 less for fuel injection, $232 less for a fuel pump, $157 less for a timing belt/chain and $955 less for a power steering pump.


Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 2 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small 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 in its category.

The M235i/M240i was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 5 years. The RC has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 2 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The RC has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 2 Series outsold the Lexus RC by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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