Lexus IS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Now cool it - I'm not about to badmouth here! Just looking for some valid feedbacks from those who actually driven BOTH cars before....

So we took the car out today to do some fun driving and throw it in some corners - is it just me or does the IS have:

1) A bit much of oversteer?
2) Too much power-steering assistance?

I've never owned a BMW, just driven the Roadster and the 228 for a few weeks some time ago and I gotta tell you - one thing they've got perfect is the steering: for the first time I was able to appreciate what it's like to actually "feel the road", if you know what I mean.

Anyway, what are you guys' thoughts on the IS300 steering?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,107 Posts
Other than being a little light, the IS300 has very good steering, but not quite as good as the Supra. Not all BMWs are that good - the '01 cars are way too light, and '02 + cars are good, but not as good as the pre '01 cars. My '95 has the best steering feel, but the ratio is too tall.
I drove a Miata recently, that car had great steering feel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,602 Posts
i have a '94 BMW and prefer its stiffer steering, but the IS isn't bad. sometimes it's nice to relax and have the extra power steering assistance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,435 Posts
RX300wannabeIS300 said:
Now cool it - I'm not about to badmouth here! Just looking for some valid feedbacks from those who actually driven BOTH cars before....

So we took the car out today to do some fun driving and throw it in some corners - is it just me or does the IS have:

1) A bit much of oversteer?2) Too much power-steering assistance?

I've never owned a BMW, just driven the Roadster and the 228 for a few weeks some time ago and I gotta tell you - one thing they've got perfect is the steering: for the first time I was able to appreciate what it's like to actually "feel the road", if you know what I mean.

Anyway, what are you guys' thoughts on the IS300 steering?
Actually, the IS is set up to understeer slightly from the factory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
I owned a 2000 323i with sport package for 3 years before switching to IS.

Steering wheel:
For some reason, I thought the steering wheel on the IS was tighter as I switched. But now I am not so sure. I recently drove a 330Ci and I must tell that there is a lot of difference. IS steering wheel has like an inch of play. Not a sports car feel. It feels like it got sloppier since I took delivery of this car.

Clutch:
It must be me, but I still can't figure out this clutch. Granted, I learned how to drive a stick on this car, my BMW was automatic. When I switched to my friend's 325i, I felt immediately comfortable with the shifter and clutch was WAY firmer, but I could switch gears very smoothly. IS clutch feels like a sponge. I also drove a Boxster and their clutch is as firm as that of BMW. In comparison, the IS's clutch feels very soft. I like a lot the thump when switching gears... it is intoxicating!!!

Gas pedal:
It was much better in BMW to have the gas pedal hinged on the floor, at your heel than coming from the top like on the IS. I could rest my foot in BMW at the bottom and it was just better and more comfortable.

Bounce:
IS definitely feels more bouncy on the roads, even with the Eibach pro kit springs. There are some major curves on the highway I take to work and one has a bump right in the middle of it, with the IS it really unsettles it, I don't remember having this with my old BMW. There is an onramp near me that I could take full speed with BMW, but with the IS the traction comes on and without it, it seems the car is about to depart the road. I think wider tires may help, but overall, the BMW handled better. I still like it even though I have an IS now.

Tires:
It also doesn't feel as confident while driving fast. What I don't like are the wimpy, bicycle-thin tires that came with this car. That's one of major gripes I have. This car has ridiculously narrow tires. Like an Accord or something like that. It looks like it is on chicken legs. My 323i had 16inch tires but they were wider and looked more sporty.

Likes:
What I like about the IS300 is that it delivers all thrills a BMW does but it doesn't break down and costs less. I like its brakes a lot! I like the sound of Drager II exhaust. I like the 6 disc changer and the metal plates all around the footwell.

Dislikes:
I also did not like that there was such a big gap between the wheel and the fender. It looked like an American car.

If I were to do it again, I probably would have picked the IS because it is such a fun car to drive and I have no problems with it, except for small things like the moonroof rattle but when the music is up it goes away. I wish BMW came with the quality and reliability of Lexus.

I definitely will keep an eye on the next gen 3er in a few years. Like you said, when it comes to feeling the connection between the road and you, I think there is nothing that matches a BMW but the IS and GS35 coupe comes close.

This is my honest opinion. I drove the 323i sports package, otherwise stock, for 3 years, the IS for 1 year now and occassionally a Porsche Boxster and a 325i. I also test drove G35 6speed manual, Z4 3.0 several times, 330Ci, 760Li.

Remember, if I wanted a true sports car, I wouldn't have picked a 4-door IS. I like the convenience of the IS and the touches of luxury. I can give up its handling for what I'm getting back and paying less for that, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I currently have a stock '02 330i and I've also driven the IS for a bit (friends). I can say that I like the BMW steering a lot more, very percise, but I have no complaints about the IS either :wink:

I can take turns at pretty good speeds with minimal skidding, I personally find that the BMW has a better feel to it in the steering, the IS has a little more numb feeling while I can just feel everything while driving the 330i, its great 8)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
It looks like the IS300 could use some help, so . . .

I own a 1994 BMW 325i (E36) 4-door 5-speed, and I just purchased a 2003 IS300 Sportdesign 5-speed several months ago. The IS300 is all stock (for now . . .) while the BMW has the Eibach Pro-kit springs, Bilstein shocks in the rear, 5-Zigen DTM catback exhaust, and a Schatz & Krum chip installed.

My impression of driving the IS300 during these several months is "this is a fun car to drive!" The steering wheel in the IS300 is small, so it requires less motion to turn (a good thing), and the power assist is helpful since the smaller steering wheel requires more strength to turn. When my hands are in the "9-3" steering position, I can keep my hands on the steering wheel while executing a 90 degree turn (again, a good thing). I cannot do this comfortablely on any other street car I have ever driven! In my opinion, the steering on the IS300 is tight and makes the car fun to drive. Edge: IS300

I was also very impressed with the handling of the IS300. I think it has a very good balance between performance and ride quality. I think my BMW has a slight (and I mean slight) edge in roadholding, but the IS300 is much better in the ride quality department. For me, this slight compromise in performance is worth the leaps and bounds improvement in ride quality. I say this because I drive very slowly over speed bumps and other unavoidable impediments, and I still bent two wheels on my BMW! On a racetrack where the pavement is like glass, of course I would prefer the stiffer BMW handling. But, in the real world where a unnoticed pothole could cost you the price of a new wheel, sometimes it's wise to compromise. Edge: IS300

My BMW produces 189 HP while the IS300 has 215 HP, plus, the BMW is 9 years old, so I'm sure the power number has diminished. To no ones surprise, the IS300 feels like it has more power. However, the BMW motor is more responsive. I don't know if this is because I have had more experience with the BMW, but to me, it seems more willing and controllable. Maybe I just need to drive the IS300 more? Edge: BMW

So, what's my final decision? In my opinion, my stock IS300 is a funner car to drive than my modified BMW 325i. Yes, it may be that the BMW is 9 years older than the IS300, and has lost some of it's legs. But, when I want to have some driving fun, it's the Lexus I choose.

(Please remember, before you flame me, this is just an opinion)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Heh I'm only gonna flame you for putting a 5zigen exhaust on a BMW :lol:

About the is300 feeling like it has more power (besides the fact it does) is that the BMW is already pretty heavy so pickup is slower on the 325i e36 in comparison to the IS300 which already has more hp but you make many good points
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
intrikat said:
Heh I'm only gonna flame you for putting a 5zigen exhaust on a BMW
Yeah, I guess I deserve some fire for that. My excuse is the exhaust was free. It's true what they say, . . . "money is the root of all evil"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
you're comparing a ten year old car to a new...that's not a fair comparison...let's face it, the 330i is a better car, if money wasn't an issue...if the 330i was the same price as the IS, most people would buy the 330i...i know i would take a chance on the reliability...

(flame all you want about reliability and forced induction, blah blah blah)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
I have driven the following cars for at least a month (long story explaing why, so nm)

-95 BMW 328 convertable, auto. I had driven the car after around 60k miles and 5 years of use, so it wasnt new, but it wasnt beat. the car had some slop in it, however you could still feel the "BMW steering", which is a good thing IMO. i cant really describe it, however it just felt like you were much more a part of the car, and could feel the road.

-02 BMW M3, SMG. DAMN! about describes its driving expeariance. however the car isnt really relevent to this discussion...

-02 or 01, not sure BMW 330 convertable manual. When i drove this car it was rather used and beat, however the car still drove very well. The shifter felt like it wasnt connected to anything, and the clutch is very stiff, with the enganement point being at the last 1/8 of so of the travel (on an IS its the last 1/4). however its much easier to drive smoother without making it seem like you are a newbie with a manaul. The suspenion and steering are the same as any other BMW.

-E36 Convertable (not sure on year) manaul, i just drove this car for like a mile, however here is what i noticed. same thing pretty much as the newer E46, with the pedals and shifter.

-IS300 compaired to those cars (BTW i normally drive an IS)... The IS is a LEXUS, plain and simple, lol. It doesnt feel as much like a sports car or race car. The steering has almost too much power assist it feels like and doesnt let you feel the road as well. the suspenion is the same way, it just feels like you are floating more than you are driving, and its not that it is softer as much, but something is different. As far as the tranny goes, i love the IS's much better. the shifter is awsome IMO, it isnt like you are playing on some toy, it actually feels like you are connected to something. the clutch requires you to slip it more than the BMW to be smooth, and it is softer, but not that bad.

as far as the interior, the cabin is nicer on a BMW IMO as well. as an example the BMW has 3 levels of heated seats and the lexus only has one, also the BMW has dual climate control the lexus only has single. the ammenities on the lexus really reflets its Toyota roots. they havent made it a lexus 100% yet, however its not to say its like a economy car, but that the BMW just has more features and is more refined. Altough i find the seats MUCH more confortable in the IS, the bmw ones dont have proper lumbar support, so if you get one, make sure to get the adjustatle lumbar!

Although... I am happy that i purchased the IS and not a BMW. I see another IS every few days and I see another 3 series every few minutes, so its nice not to have a car that everyone else has. But overall i enjoy having and driving my lexus more than BMW's.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,107 Posts
Yeah, seriously! :wink:
Actually his 325i is 3080 lbs, over 300 lbs lighter than the IS300 which is why it isn't much slower. Plus the '94 gains a solid 20 rwhp with a good chip and exhaust. Manual IS300 is a little faster than my 325i - I know cause Sentinel's IS pulled on me at Lime Rock by a small amount.

intrikat said:
Heh I'm only gonna flame you for putting a 5zigen exhaust on a BMW :lol:

About the is300 feeling like it has more power (besides the fact it does) is that the BMW is already pretty heavy so pickup is slower on the 325i e36 in comparison to the IS300 which already has more hp but you make many good points
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
I'd be interested to hear about the comparisons in 'feel' between the flagship altezza and the IS300.

With a light 4 banger producing 210, and 6spd transmission thats is among one of the best produced... I wonder how big the difference may be.

A lot of people like to compare the is300 against BMWs and other euro-luxury-sport sedans.. But lets face it.. the is300 is an Altezza, which was designed to replace the AE86 as the next car to drift with. Its probably one of the main reasons why many of you consider the is300 'funner' to drive.

A more fair comparison would be the GS300 don't u think?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,315 Posts
BMW's are known for their precise steering, probably the best in the business. BMW actually tinkered with the steering and got tons of bashing, consequently, on the 2002 model, they reverted back.
The IS comes close to the BMW, but still lags the precision and feel.
Do not get me wrong, I love the IS, and the steering but it is no BMW 330.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
When I went looking for cars, I drove the following"

2000 BMW 323i: It had a VERY stiff steering, and a very stiff clutch and accelerator. Although it felt solid, I don't like that setup for fast driving. It was slow, had a very cheap interior (leatherette), and didn't at all beg to be driven, as so many auto mags claim. I was VERY unimpressed.

Then, I drove a 2001 BMW 325i with sport package. Although it was nice, I still wasn't impressed. The steering was much lighter than on the '00 and although it felt solid, it didn't strike me as the car you truly drive. It just felt too stiff and too composed or something. Plus, the interior quality didn't seem so great. It had that fake sand trim and bad-looking leather.

Then, I drove a 2001 IS. UNBELIEVABLE. Steering, handling, braking, vehicle composure, and overall performance FAR surpassed the 325i's. The IS is truly a driver's car; it begs to be driven hard, through twisties, and fast. Anyone looking for a true sports sedan is much better off with an IS.

I just don't like BMW's. The only BMW I'd buy over a Lexus is the new 5-series; just because it's new and has more technology than the GS. Otherwise, I think Lexus is overall a better company.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
The only 2 things I would change about the stock IS:

1. Slightly louder exhasut (but its a Lexus so the will never do that)
2. LESS POWER ASSIST PLEASE!!!! I like a car to have a slightly stiff wheel. The steering on my previous car (2001 Prelude) was just perfect.

Other than that, I completely love the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
btw, my old '91 240sx had better steering than the IS...

it's hard to believe that almost 80% polled say that the IS has perfect steering...NO WAY!!! understeer, understeer, understeer...some of you guys need to test drive other cars...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,107 Posts
Understeer is really a suspension issue, not steering - which is why nobody complained about it in this thread. New BMWs understeer pretty bad too, especially the E46. On my E36 I had to get a front X-brace, shocks/springs, and M3 bushings to make the handling neutral.

Cleo said:
it's hard to believe that almost 80% polled say that the IS has perfect steering...NO WAY!!! understeer, understeer, understeer...some of you guys need to test drive other cars...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
Lexus De-tuned the car starting 2002. The 01 had great steering feel along with a tighter suspension to generate magazine test numbers to exceed competitors like 3 series. Unfortunately, for 2002 and on, Lexus wimped out and toned down the car for folks who like a more cushy ride and softer steering feel.

Question, how do you bring a 02-03 steering back up to 01 standards. L-tuned sites offer a steering ECU kit. Has anyone tried this to improve feel and firm up the efforts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,644 Posts
The stiffness of the steering wheel is about right to me. I like how little I need to turn the wheel to turn the car. The L-Tuned sway bar corrected the factory understeer and now I have much more confidence entering a corner at higher speeds.

I've only driven the 330i for about twenty minutes a year ago. I can't make any comments from that little exposure.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top