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

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus ES Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus ES Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The ES Series has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 4 Series Gran Coupe 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 ES Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The ES 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 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the ES Series and the 4 Series Gran Coupe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

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

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The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 54 more horsepower (302 vs. 248) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the 430i Gran Coupe RWD (43 city/44 hwy vs. 23 city/34 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 4 Series Gran Coupe requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lexus ES Series higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (3 to 7). This means the ES Series produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4 Series Gran Coupe every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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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 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4 Series Gran Coupe (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R18).

The ES Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 4 Series Gran Coupe; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the 4 Series Gran Coupe (113 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 1.8 inches wider in the front and .4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Chassis

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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 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the ES Series a Mid-size car, while the 4 Series Gran Coupe is rated a Compact.

The ES Series has 7.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 4 Series Gran Coupe (99.9 vs. 92).

The ES Series has .2 inches more front legroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom and 5.5 inches more rear legroom than the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series offers cargo security. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 34% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The ES 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 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The ES Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The ES Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the ES Series has standard extendable sun visors. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the ES Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the ES Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the ES Series will cost $1610 less than the 4 Series Gran Coupe over a five-year period.

The ES Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the ES Series will retain 48.23% to 49.19% of its original price after five years, while the 4 Series Gran Coupe only retains 43.43% to 44.26%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the 4 Series Gran Coupe because it costs $81 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the ES Series than the 4 Series Gran Coupe, including $360 less for a water pump, $395 less for a muffler, $61 less for front brake pads, $91 less for a starter, $65 less for fuel injection and $130 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus ES Series will be $7774 to $13858 less than for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

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

The Lexus ES Series outsold the BMW 4 Series by 55% during 2018.

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

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