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I got to test drive the 5sp is300 yesterday. i am posting my driving impressions to get feedback from other is300 owners: i will buy a car in the next 3 months or so: is300 , 330i sedan,or 98 m3 sedan. wanting the manual, i have never driven the automatic is.

first, the car is beautiful: red with black ecsaine, sticker $32,400 (won't come off sticker due to being a new model). i like the interior quite a bit.

clutch effort is quite low, and the steering is light, much lighter than the old m3, but about the same as the 330i. the shifter is nice enough: throws are not the shortest, but the gates are quite easy to find. there are shifters that are more snicky (a la miata), but this one is quite ok. the knob however, is a chromed piece of plastic-- why couldn't they put a turned aluminum one as in a s2000? i guess this is easy to customize, anyway.

in terms of power, i thought it was good but not great. there are no gaps in power (of course, it is a new car and i was driving in the 2000-4500 range), but it didn't have that pull-like-heck-in-any-gear feel that the m3 has in spades. in particular, 5th gear acceleration from about 70 mph was unexciting, even though the rpms were about 3000 (a bit higher than what would be "relaxed" highway driving).

i think this car would be a blast with a supercharger, and i think i will still get it just for reliability sake. my mechanic tells me the old m3 is very reliable, but the maintenance is somewhat high. i expect the lexus to be all but bulletproof.

these are subjective impressions, and i am not a driving expert. i would love to hear what opinions and driving impressions you all have!
 

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I believe the plastic won't burn your hand, unlike a real metal knob, when it's been out in the sun for too long. I prefer leather knobs, however.

Originally posted by mchwe:
the knob however, is a chromed piece of plastic-- why couldn't they put a turned aluminum one as in a s2000? i guess this is easy to customize, anyway.

 

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I was wondering what lexus was planning on doing about the chrome ball on the 5 speed. When i leave my car at work on a sunny day, i get in an touch the nob and leave a red mark on my hand that lasts a good 3 days. That shift nob gets ridiculously hot and i dont know how anyone would be able to drive a five speed with a shift nob that hot. The best idea would have been a leather shift nob with maybe a chrome insert with a lexus symbol or something, that would look nice. Hey aftermarket nobs are there for a reason. My $.02

Sam

[ August 21, 2001: Message edited by: STKSKI ]
 

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both the previous generation M3 and the current 330i are reliable cars. the ding comes in the way of routine maintenance. once the factory sponsored maintenance program expires, hold on. all german cars are expensive to own and maintain from that perspective. the labor rates are higher and the parts are more expensive to boot.

still, both cars are very nice.

the lexus should be all but bulletproof. lexus/toyta builds world class cars. nothing else needs to be said. lexus labor rates are a bit higher than honda or toyota but much lower than bmw, m-benz, or audi. the parts aren't bargain basement but again are better than the competition (as a rule).

the difference comes in the way of dealerships. of course, there are exceptions to the rule but lexus dealerships tend to be the best in the car industry. nobody else comes close. so, if it's important that you get pampered, get a loaner car, and get treated well.. take a long hard look at your local dealerships. some german luxo dealerships are rapidly coming up the curve and some lexus dealerships aren't as good as others so really look at where you would take your car to have it serviced.

finally, i think a lot comes down to value. while the 330i and is300 compete from a empirical numbers perspective the value quotient is way off. a fully loaded 330i (sports package, moon roof, leather, metallic paint, heated seats, cd player, xenon headlamps, etc. or in other words comparably equipped to an IS) is going to run north of $40,000. Nearly $10,000 (or 30%) higher than the Lexus. Therefore the 325i is a more viable competitor. Here the driving comparison is much more one sided. Lexus wins no two ways around it. Even here, the BMW is as much if not a little more than the Lexus when similarily equipped.

i personally prefer the look of the BMW. It's motor is a bit better than the Lexus but in almost every other way (brakes, steering, standard equipment). If I were throwing down my own $, I would have a hard time justifying the additional $8-10,000 for the BMW.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i agree with your comments. indeed, the local bmw dealership stinks (tuscaloosa, al), and the lexus dealership in birmingham is fabulous.

i just want the best bang for the buck, even if the buck is a little higher. i need a sedan (two small kids). you can find an m3 sedan 98 for around $30K, but all of them have 35k or more miles. i also agree that the closer price match to the is300 is the 325, which i wouldn't buy anyway. the 330i is a great car, but i am thinking now that is300+sc will probably smoke it in every aspect.

i really like the is300 manual, and it is so easy to drive that my wife would love it just as much. moreover, i like the fact that i can get trd parts (including a supercharger) added on with no risk of losing my warranty. i'll post if and when i put down an order for one!
 

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Finally got to drive the 5 speed, an Intensa Blue w/ black ecsaine and LSD. The blue looks very similar to SBM, though maybe SBM is better still.
It's a really nice car - the clutch is nice, having a manual makes the car feel natural for me, and the suspension is very nice. Compared to my BMW, it feels a lot more solid and tight (though so do new BMWs), it's MUCH quieter, and the stereo is awesome, as before. It's pretty quick, not as quick as a 330, but it feels more nimble. Controls are light, but I'm sure I'd get used to it. I didn't get to drive it hard, the salesman got real nervous when I said I spent the weekend at the racetrack, so I took pity on him. But it feels like it'd be a really good track car.
I did notice the ABS is REALLY sensitive, I did some moderate braking and it went off - while my BMW's ABS went off not once at the track despite slamming the car repeatedly down from 100 mph to 40. Maybe the pedal is very sensitive?
But good ole Ira Lexus says "oh, no discount off MSRP", and he also told me there's no full leather option, and I'm like "OK, so you know less than I do, so what's the point me talking to you?" Of course I didn't say that, don't want to give BMW owners a reputation. So I love the car, but can't afford it yet.
 

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Tough decision to make. I want reliability so I'm leaning towards Lexus. I still love the way the 3-series looks though. If I had a crystal ball and could look at the future maintenance and it was OK, I would get the BMW. I can't so the Lexus track record wins.
 

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Originally posted by ckolsen:
Ira Lexus says "oh, no discount off MSRP", and he also told me there's no full leather option, and I'm like "OK, so you know less than I do, so what's the point me talking to you?" Of course I didn't say that, don't want to give BMW owners a reputation. So I love the car, but can't afford it yet.
well - i asked my father(manager @ lexus of watertown) about this one. he said in his allocation(along with most near boston) there are no allocations for 5 speeds w/all leather right now...but there will be, depending on the demand.
also that you can get between .5K and 1K off MSRP no sweat...if you are really serious - Lexus of Watertown near boston got some in this week and are being prepped shortly. my old man is on vacation this week, but let me know if you're interested and ill tell him you're comin hehe
 

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well i couldnt help but laugh reading this even tho it was an old ass post.. Punching it at 70 in fifth gear?.........HAHA :lol: You should at least be in 4th man...the IS is a high revving machine...you still have about 1000 rpms left in third at 70.....
 

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JW said:
I believe the plastic won't burn your hand, unlike a real metal knob, when it's been out in the sun for too long. I prefer leather knobs, however.<P>
same here, i prefer the leather knobs too. i bouth a TRD one for about $25 form a Toyota dealer. it's about the same size but leather. they sell those on ebuy too
 

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2JZ_W55 said:
JW said:
I believe the plastic won't burn your hand, unlike a real metal knob, when it's been out in the sun for too long. I prefer leather knobs, however.<P>
same here, i prefer the leather knobs too. i bouth a TRD one for about $25 form a Toyota dealer. it's about the same size but leather. they sell those on ebuy too
I have that exact TRD knob and I love it...
 

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I was about to type "welcome to 2.5 years ago". But finally I realized that it was an old post, somebody was grave digging.
 

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sun5467692 said:
you guys know that this post is about 3 years old right.. ?

lol, i do think that changing a shift knob would be a good idea
honestly no, i didn't realize that :oops:
 

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:lol: it's Icarus' fault...he the one who digged it out from 2.5 yrs ago :lol:
 

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Tigger said:
2JZ_W55 said:
JW said:
I believe the plastic won't burn your hand, unlike a real metal knob, when it's been out in the sun for too long. I prefer leather knobs, however.<P>
same here, i prefer the leather knobs too. i bouth a TRD one for about $25 form a Toyota dealer. it's about the same size but leather. they sell those on ebuy too
I have that exact TRD knob and I love it...
Is that one threaded like the stock ball?
 

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screws right in perfectly
 

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GraphiteSportDesign said:
Is that one threaded like the stock ball?
yes, but the difference between this one and the stock is that da stock knob has a little neck at the bottom, so when you put the TRD knob there is a little space between the leather cover and the knob. what i did was i took the leather cover out, put a rober speacer over the shifter, so when i put the leather cover back, it set higher and matche perfectly with the new knob
 
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