2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 ES Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

To help make backing safer, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The ES Series doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal 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 and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Gran 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 ES Series.

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 Gran Coupe’s warranty.

Reliability

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Gran Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The ES Series was rated third.

Engine

The 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 33 more horsepower (248 vs. 215) than the ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 18 more horsepower (320 vs. 302) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 267) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 430i Gran Coupe RWD gets better fuel mileage than the ES 350 (23 city/34 hwy vs. 22 city/33 hwy).

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. Lexus only offers a regenerative brake system on the ES Series Hybrid.

Regardless of its engine, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ES Series Hybrid.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

430i

440i

ES Series

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.1 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 ES Series are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has larger standard tires than the ES Series (225/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).

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 ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the ES Series’ optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ES Series.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard 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 ES Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The ES Series’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the ES Series’ (37.1 feet vs. 38 feet). The 4 Series Gran Coupe xDrive’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the ES Series w/18-19” wheels’ (38.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

The 4 Series Gran Coupe is 1 foot, 1.2 inches shorter than the ES Series, making the 4 Series Gran Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The ES Series doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

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

A Condition-Based Service Display is standard on the 4 Series Gran Coupe to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement and brake pad replacement, vehicle inspection based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Lexus doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the ES Series.

Ergonomics

The 4 Series Gran 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 ES Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 ES Series’ standard 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 ES Series doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the ES Series offer optional 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 ES Series.

The 4 Series Gran 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 ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because typical repairs cost much less on the 4 Series Gran Coupe than the ES Series, including $197 less for a fuel pump, $308 less for a timing belt/chain and $507 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The ES Series 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 ES Series has never been an “All Star.”

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

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