2020 BMW 7 Series vs. 2019 Lexus GS Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 7 Series’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The GS Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 7 Series has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The GS Series doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 7 Series has standard Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The GS Series doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The 7 Series has a standard Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The GS Series 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.

The 7 Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The GS Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the 7 Series and the GS Series 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and night vision systems.

Warranty

The 7 Series’ corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the GS Series’ (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 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 GS 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 7 Series’ warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 7 Series’ engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the GS Series’ camshafts. If the GS Series’ belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 7 Series second among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The GS Series was rated third in its category.

Engine

The 7 Series has more powerful engines than the GS Series:

Horsepower

Torque

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

745e 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

389 HP

443 lbs.-ft.

750i 4.4 turbo V8

523 HP

553 lbs.-ft.

M760i 6.6 turbo V12

600 HP

627 lbs.-ft.

GS 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

GS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 745e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GS 350 AWD (52 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 7 Series gets better fuel mileage than the GS Series:

MPG

7 Series

RWD

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

GS Series

RWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

350 F Sport 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/27 hwy

AWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

The 745e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The GS Series must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the 7 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GS Series doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 7 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 GS Series doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The 7 Series’ standard fuel tank has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the GS Series (20.6 vs. 17.4 gallons).

Transmission

The 7 Series’ 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 GS Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 7 Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the GS Series:

740i/745e

750i

GS Series

GS Series F Sport

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

15.5 inches

13.1 inches

14 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.5 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The 7 Series stops much shorter than the GS Series:

7 Series

GS Series

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 7 Series has larger standard tires than the GS Series (245/50R18 vs. 235/45R18). The 7 Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GS Series (F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19 vs. F:235/40R19 & R:265/35R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 7 Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the GS 300. The 7 Series’ optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the GS Series.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 7 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The GS Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 7 Series offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The GS Series doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the 7 Series uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the GS Series, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The 7 Series offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Lexus doesn’t offer an active suspension on the GS Series.

The 7 Series has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The 7 Series’ height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The GS Series doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 7 Series’ wheelbase is 14.2 inches longer than on the GS Series (126.4 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 7 Series is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GS Series.

The Alpina B7 handles at .97 G’s, while the GS 350 pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 750i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GS 350 (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .72 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the 7 Series uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GS Series doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 7 Series a Large car, while the GS Series is rated a Mid-size.

The 7 Series has 15 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GS Series (114 vs. 99).

The 7 Series has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 7.6 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the GS Series.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 7 Series’ available rear seats recline. The GS Series’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 7 Series’ trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The GS Series doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The 7 Series has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The GS Series doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A Condition-Based Service Display is standard on the 7 Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and 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 GS Series.

Ergonomics

The 7 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 GS Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Optional air conditioned front and rear seats keep the 7 Series’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The GS Series doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The 7 Series has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the GS Series.

The 7 Series’ Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The GS Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 7 Series is less expensive to operate than the GS Series because typical repairs cost much less on the 7 Series than the GS Series, including $114 less for a starter, $129 less for fuel injection and $438 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW 7 Series and the Lexus GS Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The BMW 7 Series outsold the Lexus GS Series by 25% during 2018.

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

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