2020 Lexus RC vs. 2020 BMW 2 Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/02/29

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RC have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The BMW 2 Series doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 2 Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Pre-Collision System in the RC as “Superior.” The 2 Series scores at most only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The RC’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 2 Series doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the RC’s optional 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 2 Series doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the RC and the 2 Series 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, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RC’s reliability 44 points higher than the 2 Series.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. BMW is ranked 17th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The RC has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the 2 Series (17.4 vs. 13.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the RC F Sport has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift, based on a value pre-entered by the driver. The 2 Series doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RC’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 2 Series:

RC

RC F Sport

230i

M240i

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

14 inches

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

13.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the RC has larger standard tires than the 2 Series (235/40R19 vs. 205/50R17). The RC’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 2 Series (F:235/40R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. F:225/40R18 & R:245/35R18).

The RC’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 230i’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RC has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 230i. The RC’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the 2 Series.

The RC 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 2 Series; 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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The RC has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RC flat and controlled during cornering. The 2 Series’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RC’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the 2 Series (107.5 inches vs. 105.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the RC is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 2 Series.

For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the 2 Series’ (34.2 feet vs. 35.8 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the 2 Series xDrive’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet).

Passenger Space

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The RC has 3.9 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more front shoulder room than the 2 Series Coupe.

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 RC 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 2 Series doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The RC’s 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 2 Series doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The RC’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The 2 Series has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The RC’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower both of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the 2 Series’ standard power windows.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RC has standard extendable sun visors. The 2 Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RC keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 2 Series doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

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The RC will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RC will retain 48.24% to 49.88% of its original price after five years, while the 2 Series only retains 41.04% to 46.61%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RC is less expensive to operate than the 2 Series because it costs $200 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RC than the 2 Series, including $118 less for a water pump, $387 less for a muffler, $95 less for front brake pads and $14 less for front struts.

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