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This was the day my wife and I were waiting for. Although we had looked at the IS in the showroom of our dealer, we held off going for a standard test drive. Also having the chance to compare the 330i against the IS made it even better.
Arrived before noon and the line for the IS350 was long, as well as the line for the 330i. The test sequence I noticed people using was, IS350 first, 330i 2nd and then IS250.
All of the talk about how BMW has it all over the the IS had me very anxious to find out for myself whether there is truth to this opinion.
First the IS350. The course layout allowed you to stomp on the gas from the start. Acceleration just a rush. This is a strong engine really puts you into the seat. The course is quite short but has some nice corners, ess turns and quick switchbacks. I was very impressed with the handling. I didn't feel tentative at all accelerating out of turns or trying to see if I could make the tires squeal or the car lose it's composure. It didn't, rock solid thu the entire course. End of IS350 test run, got in line for the 330i. First impression, shitty looking shift lever and boot cover. This was an automatic. Acceleration obviously not close to the IS. Now for the handling. I have to say that I have no idea why anyone would rate BMW as a better handling car than the IS350. I know that enthusiasts speak volumes about road feel, feedback from the wheels to the steering wheel, balance...etc. I just felt a jittery steering wheel, tires squealing thru turns, having to use the brakes more often, losing momentum, did not increase my confidence thru the switchbacks and entering the slowdown at the end section, just an overall dissatisfied feeling about the 330i.
The IS350 in my opinion is a better feeling car. Here the feeling comes from it's smoothness, like butter, the lack of jitteryness, what others might call roadfeel. I call it a distraction. What many call a numbness from Lexus cars thru the steering column, I call unobtrusiveness. I felt the IS, unlike the 330i, responded to my inputs far better than the BMW. This is of course all seat of the pants stuff. I'm not into driving at the limits all of the time. Our 2002 IS300 probably has more of the BMW roadfeel that is talked about. It probably is sharper handling than the IS350. But I always called it a bit twitchy. I never could get real comfortable with it. Compared to my wife's IS300, the new IS is a superb successor. Perhaps I'm not an "enthusiast" as so many BMW drivers call themselves. My main ride is a V-8 Toyota Tundra Limited pickup truck. But like the IS350, it is ultimately better handling and smoother driving than perhaps many passenger cars let alone the competitions pickups. I feel that the IS makes me a better driver. In my case, my confidence increased as I drove the IS, while I simply was not able to become "one" with the BMW. Stayed several hours, was able to test several times. Same result, Damn fine car the IS350 .Thanks to Lexus for a really fine event. Got two Paul McCartney CDs in the gift bag at the exit. His newest CD, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and a compilation CD, Motor of Love. KOOL! George
 
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Nice write up man...but you are actually the first one gave credits for the IS350 handling over 330i...it's interesting...i am going to another event in orange county next weekend..see if that is true
 

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There's a total opposite review from one of the residents at CL from the same event...how funny.

I hope the new IS handles well, I loved the 1st gen handling very much.
 

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i believe the is has better / less body roll . and the vdim helps maintain controll through the s turns and slalom (sp?) . bmw's new induction ( no throtlebody ) makes off the line acceleration quite poor compared to the 350 also ..

and then just compare the luxury .

i did like the heavy feel and size of the bmw's steering wheel tho


the luxury event in alameda was great . course was long and open .
 

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Lvangundy said:
There's a total opposite review from one of the residents at CL from the same event...how funny.

I hope the new IS handles well, I loved the 1st gen handling very much.
I read that review too. I have 500 miles on my 350, and have taken 2 test drives in a 330. One of those was by myself for 30 minutes and I got to really push its limits.

Sure, I'm biased, or I wouldnt have picked the Lexus, but I think the 330i cannot compare to a 350. First it suffers from reliability problems. Why would you want to spend good money on a broken product?

In terms of handling, I think the 330i can beat the IS 350 unless you have the sport package, in which case there is no discernable difference.

Those with non-sport models will benefit from a more comfortable ride than the 330i can offer. Why does everyone continue to compare apples to oranges. One model is Luxury, one is Sport. I don't see anyone praising Lexus for offering an option that BMW doesnt (smooth ride). You can't have a good ride AND handle like a car setup for handling.

Lets not even talk about power...

Now lets get to the interior of the 330. It reminds me of something Fred Flintstone would drive. A very drab, boring, spartan interior. If you are unfortunate enough to get NAV, you'll know what a POS iDrive is.

Everyone talks about how great the 330 is to drive. Everyone and their brother seems to have one. They are around every corner. I guarantee that 99.9% of the people in one of those have no idea how to drive.

Sure I'm biased, but my bias is based on months of research and a careful evaluation of both cars. I have a stake in the 350 being a good car now that I own one, but i promise you that I would tell the world if it were a POS.

The IS 350 beats the pants off of the BMW 330i. That could change if BMW were to pull their heads out of their asses and get in the race. Anyone who knows anything about Japanese culture understands why Lexus makes a better car.

My 2 cents. ;)
 

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I think the 330 has better handling compare to IS250/350. It's more responsive and better road feel . I really enjoy driving the 330 in autocross setup. There is always a trade off between handling and comfort. However, I still wont buy the 330 since the overall package of IS350 is much better. Much more power,lower price, nicer interior...etc.
 

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I also drove both. The IS350 had the sport suspension option and I do not think the BMW had the sport package.
 

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I was there....the 330i sucked in comparo to the 350 handling- I hit a cone in the slalom part...but not with the 350 ( I know it doesnt really mean it handles worse). But in my opinion the 350 was a shit load faster and handled better on the course than the BMW. I am very very satisfied with how the 350 turned out.

Same goes for the GS- which I must say was VERY impressed! That thing destroyed the E500 and the 530 big time. I thought of the GS to be slow and bulky before I drove it- HELL NO! That thing was very badass. And the BMW and MB could not even come close to the GS in handling/speed/refinement. TWO THUMBS UP!

As for all the other cars---well they are typical Lexi

But the IS and GS are absolutely sick.

BMW= OwNeD

~Chris
 

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i went to the same event, definitely thought the 330i had better handling. BTW, the GS300 is pretty slow, no? anyways, i have no idea why infiniti wasnt there, that was a mistake, i think. they should have definitely included infiniti. oh well. it was an okay event. ive been to better lexus events.
 

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ibaxnu said:
This was the day my wife and I were waiting for. Although we had looked at the IS in the showroom of our dealer, we held off going for a standard test drive. Also having the chance to compare the 330i against the IS made it even better.
Arrived before noon and the line for the IS350 was long, as well as the line for the 330i. The test sequence I noticed people using was, IS350 first, 330i 2nd and then IS250.
All of the talk about how BMW has it all over the the IS had me very anxious to find out for myself whether there is truth to this opinion.
First the IS350. The course layout allowed you to stomp on the gas from the start. Acceleration just a rush. This is a strong engine really puts you into the seat. The course is quite short but has some nice corners, ess turns and quick switchbacks. I was very impressed with the handling. I didn't feel tentative at all accelerating out of turns or trying to see if I could make the tires squeal or the car lose it's composure. It didn't, rock solid thu the entire course. End of IS350 test run, got in line for the 330i. First impression, shitty looking shift lever and boot cover. This was an automatic. Acceleration obviously not close to the IS. Now for the handling. I have to say that I have no idea why anyone would rate BMW as a better handling car than the IS350. I know that enthusiasts speak volumes about road feel, feedback from the wheels to the steering wheel, balance...etc. I just felt a jittery steering wheel, tires squealing thru turns, having to use the brakes more often, losing momentum, did not increase my confidence thru the switchbacks and entering the slowdown at the end section, just an overall dissatisfied feeling about the 330i.
The IS350 in my opinion is a better feeling car. Here the feeling comes from it's smoothness, like butter, the lack of jitteryness, what others might call roadfeel. I call it a distraction. What many call a numbness from Lexus cars thru the steering column, I call unobtrusiveness. I felt the IS, unlike the 330i, responded to my inputs far better than the BMW. This is of course all seat of the pants stuff. I'm not into driving at the limits all of the time. Our 2002 IS300 probably has more of the BMW roadfeel that is talked about. It probably is sharper handling than the IS350. But I always called it a bit twitchy. I never could get real comfortable with it. Compared to my wife's IS300, the new IS is a superb successor. Perhaps I'm not an "enthusiast" as so many BMW drivers call themselves. My main ride is a V-8 Toyota Tundra Limited pickup truck. But like the IS350, it is ultimately better handling and smoother driving than perhaps many passenger cars let alone the competitions pickups. I feel that the IS makes me a better driver. In my case, my confidence increased as I drove the IS, while I simply was not able to become "one" with the BMW. Stayed several hours, was able to test several times. Same result, Damn fine car the IS350 .Thanks to Lexus for a really fine event. Got two Paul McCartney CDs in the gift bag at the exit. His newest CD, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and a compilation CD, Motor of Love. KOOL! George
I think this review hit the nail, the 350 is a better handling car vs the 330i auto that I drove, hands down. It was also faster through the cones. If somebody says it was a better handling car, maybe, but not with the 350 I compared it with.
 

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The review is awesome. I feel the same way and this is only the second week of me driving this 350. The 330I is ok but if I want a good feel of the road, I'll just go back to my Scion XB.
 

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I was there, and was very impressed with the IS350... BUT

First off, even Lexus will cheat, ie: awesome tires on the IS plus sport package and shitty tires on the BMW plus no sport package (Autoshow in motion pulled the same crap)

In the race segments, the BMW held the IS's rear bumper in the twisties, but of course got stomped on in the strait away.

Again though, I went there with the outlook that I'd feel that the new IS was an old mans car, a pussyfied IS, but I was turned around, and very very impressed. I felt very confident in the twisties, the auto didn't have the draw backs that I associate with autos (didn't need to play with the shifters, was very impressed) and the power curve was great.
I also was totally stoked to see the Team Lexus IS in person, and surprised to hear that the new IS350 race car is going to sport 400hp with the 3.5ltr engine.

Damn man, on that Sunday I went around 1:30ish, there was A TON of IS 300s in the parking lot lol.

Only thing I didn't like about the event is Lexus totally overcrowded it, the lines were longer and/or slower moving than Autoshow in motion, even with the "un-popular" cars. I got fed up with it left without driving the 250 (plus they didn't have the 250 manual) and many of the other cars.

On a side note, I was also very very surprised with the LS 430's braking response, I'd like my IS to feel that grippy. The 400h had tons of body roll, yet gripped?!? Reminds me of the BMW 5series...

B.
 
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