2021 Lexus LC Series vs. 2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible

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 LC 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 Convertible doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The LC Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 4 Series Convertible 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.

The LC 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 Convertible doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the LC Series and the 4 Series Convertible have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, 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 and available rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the LC Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 4 Series Convertible. 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 Convertible ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th, 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.

Engine

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The LC 500h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 106 more horsepower (354 vs. 248) and 92 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 258) than the 430i Convertible’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The LC 500h’s 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 34 more horsepower (354 vs. 320) and 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 330) than the 440i Convertible’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder. The LC 500’s standard 5.0 DOHC V8 produces 151 more horsepower (471 vs. 320) and 68 lbs.-ft. more torque (398 vs. 330) than the 440i Convertible’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The LC Series’ standard fuel tank has 5.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4 Series Convertible (21.7 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The LC Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 6.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4 Series Convertible (22.2 vs. 15.8 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus LC Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the 4 Series Convertible.

The LC 500h 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 Convertible doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the LC Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the 4 Series Convertible:

LC Series

430i Convertible

440i Convertible M Sport

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

12.3 inches

14.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.1 inches

11.8 inches

13.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the LC Series has larger tires than the 4 Series Convertible (F:245/45R20 & R:275/40R20 vs. 225/45R18). The LC Series’ tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4 Series Convertible (F:245/45R20 & R:275/40R20 vs. F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19).

The LC Series’ standard 275/40R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4 Series Convertible’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the LC Series has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the 4 Series Convertible. The LC Series’ optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the 4 Series Convertible.

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the LC Series is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the 4 Series Convertible.

For better maneuverability, the LC Series Active Rear Steering’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the 4 Series Convertible’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet). The LC Series’ turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the 4 Series Convertible xDrive’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The LC Series Convertible uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

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With its coupe body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the LC Series offers cargo security. The 4 Series Convertible’s non-lockable folding seat 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 LC 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 Convertible doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The LC Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The LC Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4 Series Convertible 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.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the LC Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The LC Series has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages

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The LC Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the LC Series will retain 44.07% to 45.69% of its original price after five years, while the 4 Series Convertible only retains 40.54% to 43.53%.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/10/27

The LC Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The 4 Series Convertible hasn’t been picked since 2014.

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