Lexus IS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a tough time deciding which new car I should buy. I have 26,000 in cash and I'm willing to finance another $9,000. I've narrowed it down to a Lexus IS300 or a BMW 325ci. The IS300 I wanted would be the 2002 5-speed model with the full leather seats, moonroof, spoiler, and 17 inch rims. The BMW 325ci would have full leather, moonroof, Xenon lights and 17inch rims. A IS300 with these options has the MSRP of about $33,525 and the MSRP of a BMW with these options would be about $34,110(which doesn't mean crap in real life). With the Lexus I would get 215HP compared to the BMW's 184HP. In my opinion the Bimmer seems a bit more prestigious. Is the HP that important? Is it just me on the BMW's appeal? I'm looking to buy 2002 model unless I can get a great price on a 2001. What to do???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,339 Posts
In general, both are great cars. Both have their positives and negatives. But, I think you will realize your decision once you test drive them. If you're still unsure, test drive them again. The decision is yours not ours.

That's what I would do and did.

-crontab -l
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Foxdie,
Was in the same situation you are several months ago until I did some more in-depth research on both cars. One thing that really turned me off of the BMW is the cost of maintenance. I've spoken to several people who own either a 323 or 325 regarding their opinions of the cars. Although BMW is offering free maintenance through 36k miles, what they don't tell you is that's only two oil changes, since they only recommend an oil change every 15k miles. After that things get expensive. One owner told me that he got a quote from the dealership on a brake job - was going to be close to a grand due to the fact that BMW replaces the entire rotor when they do a brake job and won't resurface rotors. I was also told that typical service appointments are in the $300 - 400 range.
I still think the BMW is one of the most beautiful cars on the road today, but to me there's no comparison as far as value for what you get - power, progressive styling and most options are included. You start adding all the bells and whistles to the BMW and you'll easily be in the $38,000 range after taxes, etc. I got my IS with everything but Limited Slip for $30,900 plus tax - by far the better value.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,635 Posts
dude, f*** prestige, go with what feels right... i was in your shoes over a year ago, drove them all, and let the $ part come second... The IS won by a LOOOONG shot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Foxdie:

I used to own a BMW 328I(96). Yes, the car is very graceful and has a very good appeals to the mass. However, when you compare the features between the two cars, IS is a better bet. I was comparing the same two car that you mentioned. What I hate the most is the accleration of the car, an old maxiama can easily beat a current automatic 325I.
BTW, Bimmer stereo is not any good at all.
Go for the Harmon kardon if you want a 325I.
Just my 2 cents.

Originally posted by foxdie:
I'm having a tough time deciding which new car I should buy. I have 26,000 in cash and I'm willing to finance another $9,000. I've narrowed it down to a Lexus IS300 or a BMW 325ci. The IS300 I wanted would be the 2002 5-speed model with the full leather seats, moonroof, spoiler, and 17 inch rims. The BMW 325ci would have full leather, moonroof, Xenon lights and 17inch rims. A IS300 with these options has the MSRP of about $33,525 and the MSRP of a BMW with these options would be about $34,110(which doesn't mean crap in real life). With the Lexus I would get 215HP compared to the BMW's 184HP. In my opinion the Bimmer seems a bit more prestigious. Is the HP that important? Is it just me on the BMW's appeal? I'm looking to buy 2002 model unless I can get a great price on a 2001. What to do???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Invest your money and lease a car. Buying a car and paying cash is the worst investment you could ever make.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,523 Posts
SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
my friend owns 325i and i have IS 300.
BMW 325i with leather seats, moon roof, cd player and fully loaded(i'm sure you did enough research to know what they are) IS 300 without limited slip differential.
we both drove each others cars and came to this conclusion.
- IS 300 handles much better on turns and ride quality is superior. comes with so much more extras for the same price.
- we both raced on the street and acceleration wise 325i(auto) is not much slower than IS auto.
- seems like BMW gets more points in the "prestige" department, especially among girls.

i still love BMW's. they are awesome and i love how they look. but i see lots of bimmers on the road and i didn't wanna be just another bimmer driver. I don't see IS's as much and i never regreted my decision buying my car. i hope you decide on your car soon and let us know what you go with!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,523 Posts
I wouldn't advise comparing the "little things" between a loaded 325 and a loaded IS300, because the BMW has more of them (ambiance lighting, car and key memory [memory seats, etc.], auto up and down for all windows, folding rear seat option, etc.). Granted you have to pay for it, but the IS300 is really lacking in the "little things."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Go with the IS300 unless you want to buy a name. The BMW 3 series is a piece of crap. BMW only has the name. The quality can't approach Lexus quality. I too had a hard time deciding between the IS300 and 330i about a year ago. So I talked to many people who owned 3 series before and they all diswayed me from getting one. I even know a guy who loved his new 325i, then, 6 months later he got rid of it and never told me why. The general consensus that I'm getting is that if you are loaded with money, then go with the BMW because of their 4-year free maintenance program. After the free maintenance is up, get rid of the car and get a new BMW and another 4 years of free maintenance. Once your free maintenance is up, you're going to be sorry that you kept the BMW. If you look under the hood of the BMW, the engine and other compartments are all sealed up; you can't mess around with anything. It's designed like that by BMW so that you have to take the car in for every single service. That's how BMW ripes you off. Once your free maintenance is up, get ready to be violated. I have a cousin who has a 325i and although he doesn't admit that BMWs are crap, he's implying it to me by complaining about all of the problems that he's had with the car and how much money it costs to fix them. You should get the Lexus for reliability and quality. My family has owned 6 cars made by Toyota including my Lexus IS300 and we've never had any problems. All we do is change the oil at the recommended interval and that's it. We don't even bring the car in for regular checkups. Nada. The cars just run. With the IS300, you're not just getting reliability, you're also getting one fine performance machine. Don't read comparisions by automobile magazines between the IS300 and the 330i. They are biased toward German cars. Plus, they made the comparisions between an automatic IS300 and a manual 330i. Since you're getting a manual IS300, the gap in acceleration is mute. Plus, the IS300 is a better handling car, and it has the Supra engine under the hood. So, if you wanted to upgrade the power later, there's no problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
IS, IS, IS, I think a majority of people around here drove both cars...personally I drove the IS first drove a half mile down the road and drove the 325...it couldn't compare...drive them both hard on your test drives and you'll see the difference...sure there may be more 'prestige' with the bimmer but there is also a ton of the BMW prestige at every intersection...the 325 is everywhere, compared to the seldom IS I see...if you haven't driven them both, go drive them and find out for yourself...happy shopping...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Here you go dude my wife has a 3 and we are trading it in for the LEXUS for one reason
MAINTENANCE IS A KILLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
301 Posts
Here’s my advice:
Forget the names, and simply give both cars a thorough test drive. Go with what feels better to you.

I was in the same situation you are in (I’m sure all IS300 owners went through this…). Here are my thoughts:

The Lexus is definitely more sporty than the 325I (even with the sport package). It out accelerates the BMW and can corner as good, if not better, then the BMW. The Lexus is a better value (as you might have noticed, every SINGLE thing is an option on the BMW… such as CD player, HID, etc…) by the time you add up comparable cars, the BMW is easily a few grand more. And finally, as everyone already mentioned, maintenance on the BMW is expensive (even though they claim free maintenance).

However,
The BMW has a much smoother ride than the Lexus (even with the sport package). The BMW when fully loaded is more “luxurious” than the Lexus (small touches like how the side mirrors point downward when backing up, the “automatic” wipers that sense rain, Memory seats that work off the key fob, etc…).

In short, I think the IS300 is more sporty, while the 325I is more like a true luxury car.

Also, in regards to prestige. Among car enthusiast, both cars are ranked equally high. However, among the “common people” the BMW (or Beemer) is definitely more prestigious (but there’s also a “snobby” stigma about them).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
About the BMW, I still think Edmunds said it best in their long-term review of the 328:

"Don't pass it up because the clueless masses living in your upscale neighborhood own one. Chances are, they didn't choose it for the right reasons. You will."

When I bought mine (a 00 323Ci), I did not seriously consider the IS because of the lack of a manual transmission. However, I have never (not for one second) regretted going with the BMW. It's sublime. I too struggled with the problem of buying a car that would be perceived as snobbish, or buying a car that was the obvious choice rather than something underdoggish and distinctive.

Then I drove it.

And once you do, you start to understand where the mystique comes from. You start to get why the 3 series wins comparison tests with metronomic regularity. Why automotive scribes run to the thesaurus to come up with new superlatives for every review.

It's just that good.

In the end analysis, I simply could not justify spending money on anything else. The truly amazing part about it is, it just gets better the more time you spend in it.

Now that I've driven the IS, I have to say that Lexus has done a very creditable job of developing a car that is as good as the BMW in many ways, and better in others. In some ways it is more fun to drive, since it is more elemental and less "luxurious," for want of a better term. However, I don't think it handles better. The BMW chassis is more neutral at the limit than the IS, which remains a resolute if moderate understeerer.
Would I buy one over a BMW now that a stick is available? It's a tough call. My 323 is very lightly optioned, and I got it for less than 32K. The Lexus, which comes standard with a bunch of stuff I don't want, is about the same price. As a result, the value argument is not very compelling for me. But the Lexus, as I said, is more involving to drive. The bottom line, I guess is that you have to drive them both and decide which appeals to you more.

But do yourself a favor. Don't decide against the BMW because everyone else has one. If you do, you'll never know what you're missing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
i remember my dad used to have a BMW530 when i was little, and how pissed he got when problems keep coming up. and finally got rip of the car, so i guess when it came to 325 vs is300, there was no tough choice here for me
btw, i did test drive 325 as well, not very impressed, so go drive both, u will find out
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,938 Posts
Hey JST . . .

You forgot to mention one thing . . . you paid $32K for a car with 170hp (aprox.) and few options. You could have had 215hp (IS300) for the same price. Why would anybody buy a stripped BMW with 45 less hp for the same price as an loaded IS? I just don't see it.

IMO, the IS300 should not be compared to the "low end" 3-series (i.e. 323, 325). It's performance numbers are much closer to a 330 (especially now that the IS has a 5-speed). And once you compare the IS300 with the 330, you obviously get more bang for the buck with the IS.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I love BMW's. My folks have owned 11 different BMW's since 1979. My dad now has a 540i 6-speed (now that is a sweet car). I essentially grew up in a BMW family. But, I don't think you should buy a BMW unless you can really afford to do it right. If you are worried about the maintenence costs, then you can't afford the car. It's that simple. It's like people who buy Suburbans and then complain about how much it costs to fill the tank.

Bottom line: Don't buy the BMW if you are going to whine about the maintenance. That is part of the cost of the car. And, don't pay the same money (or more) for an underachieving car with no options just because you want people to know that you have a BMW. Besides, we are not talking about a Ford Mustange here . . . the ISl300 is made by LEXUS!!! IMO, Lexus is just as prestigous as BMW and Mercedes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Options do not a real BMW make. In fact, for me, it's more important to have fewer options than more. My 323Ci is lightly optioned not because money was a factor (it really wasn't) but because that's the way I prefer it. With the sport package, heated seats, a CD player, the high-end audio, and a sunroof, it has everything I need. I want a sports sedan (coupe), not a rolling bordello.

Things like rain-sensing windshield wipers, wood trim, leather interior, etc. all have negative value, IMO. They add weight, complexity or maintenance costs and offer no real benefit. So why should I a) pay more for them, or b) care that my car doesn't have them, while some other similarly priced car does? In this sense, I really like BMW's a la carte option system. It allows me to tailor the car exactly the way that I want it, rather than having to accept a bunch of crap to get the good stuff.

As for performance, it's hard to compare the IS and the 323. As I said, the IS was not available with a standard transmission when I was buying, so its horsepower level was completely irrelevant to me. No stick, no sale.

As against a 325, it's difficult to say how the manual transmission IS will fare. No 3rd party performance numbers have been released. However, IIRC the Autoweek review guesstimated 0-60 times in the high sixes or low sevens. Those times are much closer to 325 territory than to 330 numbers.

Regardless, I don't really care whether my car is faster or slower than car X. Speed is one part of the equation, but if all I wanted was a fast car, I would have bought a Cobra. FWIW, the Cobra has more than 100 hp more than the IS, and costs less.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top