2006 Lexus IS350 Loses to 2006 BMW 330i??

So I just got the latest issue of Car & Driver where they tested the entry-level luxo-sport cars.. like the BMW 330i, Infiniti G35, Audi A4, etc etc.. among them was also the latest and greatest 2006 Lexus IS350.. when I got back from Taiwan, I really wanted to hold off on buying a car and waiting it out for the new IS350.. knowing Lexus, I knew it was going to be great and vastly improved over the first generation IS300 (which I also briefly owned and liked).. but I kind of liked the idea of owning a VQ35 based car (even if it is a 4 door) and I figured the IS350’s back seats would probably be much smaller than the Infiniti G35 sedan’s.. and I was right.. the new IS350 back seats are much smaller.. and out of all the cars that C&D tested in this group, they said the IS350 back seats were the worst (Acura TL’s were the best, which I kind of have to agree).. anyhow.. on first glance, I figured that the BMW 330i probably deserved to win.. I mean, its been the benchmark for all luxo-sport cars to date.. but a friend sent me this forum post from IS300.net/my.is and it just made me laugh..

OK… it’s official… BMW is paying off the media!

Let’s see… during a test of a BRAND NEW 330i:

1. The airbag warning lights turned on
2. The ABS warning lights turned on
3. A brake malfunction caused the car to spin out of control when they tried stopping
4. The engine wouldn’t always start when they pushed the starter button
5. They admit the active steering is garbage
6. They admit the i-Drive system is horrible
7. They say the navigation system sucks ass
8. They say the audio system is difficult to use
9. They say the air conditioner wasn’t working optimally

Yet… let me get this straight… they STILL rank the car number 1??? This test was FIXED! How could the Lexus loose by only one point?

Yes, after reading the C&D article, I can confirm this.. the 2006 Lexus IS350 lost by one measly point.. and this is even after the BMW 330i had all of the troubles mentioned above.. the first paragraph of the BMW 330i section (where they proclaim it to be Number 1) says something to the effect of “shortly after delivery, we had problems with the push button starter”.. I mean, seriously.. thats like worst thing for a new car.. it can’t start? So someone skims this article thinking the BMW 330i is THE best luxo-sport car.. goes out and drops like $40k on a new one.. drives it home and “shortly thereafter” develops a starting problem? So based on C&D’s observations.. a car that has trouble starting when brand spankin’ new, has potentially deadly problems with its ABS system, semi-working airbags, and crappy controls and interior features STILL beats the new 2006 Lexus IS350 by 1 point?

Its laughable..

I dunno.. it doesnt matter.. I flipped to the performance table and saw that the 2006 Lexus IS350 was pretty damn fast.. good enough for me.. it would beat the snot out of any BMW 330i and give an M3 a run for its money..

2006 Lexus IS350 (6 speed automatic) as tested by Car & Driver October 2005 issue:
0-60 MPH : 5.1 seconds
0-100 MPH : 12.8 seconds
1/4 mile : 13.7 @ 104 MPH

2005 BMW M3 (as tested by Car & Driver):
0-60 MPH : 4.8 seconds
1/4 mile : 13.6 seconds (Edmunds.com said they hit 105 MPH in the quarter mile)

enough said..

14 thoughts on “2006 Lexus IS350 Loses to 2006 BMW 330i??

  1. […] If some Lexus marketing person ran up to me after driving the new IS350, I think my one word to describe it would be “invigorating”. If a BMW marketing person ran out to greet me after my quick romp in the BMW 330i, I’d probably say “nice”. And that pretty much sums it up. Sure, the BMW camp will say that the 330i is a driving machine and an extension of the driver. My argument to that would be, “well, if the car has relatively average power, then yeah, its going to feel like a well-behaved driving machine that I’m not going to get into a lot of trouble with.”. The IS350, based on my perception of its raw power and torque, is definitely a car I could get into a lot of trouble with. But the suspension, chassis, and electronics all help to keep that power going in a direction that you choose. Maybe the track wasn’t long enough to really have fun in the BMW, I’ll concede to that. But based on the track at this event, I’d have to say the Lexus IS350 will smoke the BMW 330i in the “fun to drive” category. After I got home I re-read the Car and Driver test and my only question to them is, “what the hell are you guys smoking?” […]

  2. The reason the BMW is better is because the driving dynamics of the 3 series is what the engineers in Bavaria spend most of there time on. Toyota engineers still don understand what is required to design a car that will go around a race track fast. The 3 series with less power will outperfomr the IS350 on the track any day.


  3. KP, although I understand that the BMW may have the edge in terms of “driving dynamics”, I’d still have to question Car & Driver’s decision to pick the 2006 330i the winner. I’m not so sure driving dynamics outweighs safety (remember, the malfunction in the ABS system made the 330i lose control at like 70MPH) and reliability (the damn car wouldn’t start!?). Though I’ve driving both cars back to back, and I loved the IS350, I’ll admit that the 330i has its merits. But like I said, I don’t know if those merits outweight a malfunctioning ABS system and keyless ignition. Here are my impressions if you missed them: http://www.aricswebsite.com/blog/2005/11/14/100/lexus-is350-vs-bmw-330i-my-driving-impressions-taste-of-lexus/

  4. Don’t ever try and compare the Lexus IS350 to the BMW M3 that is the biggest bunch of junk i have ever heard. One is an amazing sports car and the other is not even close. First off the M3 has much better pick up and secondly when you are at high speeds the BMW will kill the lexus on turns. Don’t forget people the Lexus is just a upgraded TOYOTA!!!! One other thing for all you people thinking that the outside of the new IS is beautiful, look at the Sonata it looks the same from the front 🙂 And all the criticizing of the new shape of the BMW i dunno about that. you want ugly, ES330 enough said.

  5. AD, the only comparison I made between the IS350 and the M3 was in terms of straight line performance.. I don’t think anyone can argue that.. driving dynamics or no driving dynamics.. its just as fast in the quarter mile.. how does an M3 have better pick up? I’ll agree that the M3, as tested by C&D, has a 1 MPH advantage in the 1/4 mile, but how does that translate to “much better pick up”? Hell, dont get me wrong.. I’d take an M3 over any Lexus any day.. if you thought otherwise, you were sadly mistaken.. anyway, my comments were about the IS350 vs. the 330i.. I see you didnt make any comments regarding the IS350’s performance over the 330’s performance.. I wonder why that is..

    Secondly, the fact that a Lexus is an “upgraded Toyota” is irrelevant. If a Hyundai (or any other “undesireable brand”) had an interior that can compete with the luxury brands, bulletproof reliability (something every Toyota has over BMW), AND could hang with an M3 in the 1/4 mile, then I’d seriously consider buying it.. the fact that you can make such a comment clearly shows your vehicle purchasing decision is based solely on brand and your bias towards BMW.

    Lastly, I’d agree than the ES330 is not the best looking vehicle.. in fact, I wouldnt even argue that its a decent looking car.. but how does your comment re: the ES330 make the new BMW 3-series look any better?

  6. Based on my driving test of both cars, (I’m in the market for a used M3 btw..) the M3 is a different beast than the IS350. You can’t really compare the 2 cars. When Aric makes a comment like the IS350 gives the M3 “a run for it’s money”, that is clearly a subjective opinion. Whether or not spending the extra $15-20k is worth the badge, handling, looks, and acceleration of a M3 is another story. For example, in the audio industry, there are people that spend LOTS! of dollars on an audio system…Is the sound produced by that setup different/better than a cheap HTIB? you bet your ass it is! question is how much better and worth it? Depends on the buyer…

    Aric commented he would take the M3 over any Lexus any day…kinda shows you already that the M3 can hold it’s own weight against the IS350…

    On a side note: My personal opinions on driving the IS350, it’s so luxurious and smooth, I felt like I was about to fall asleep driving it. Shifting: The fact Lexus doesn’t have a 6 speed yet, and the SMG on the IS350 felt a tad “slow”…Nothing to write home about here. Handling: not bad, precise, and makes a good turn. Acceleration: Quite impressive, best in it’s class probably…but it’ not singing the same tune as a M3 engine. Reliability: No questions asked.

  7. I have a buddy in the auto repair business, he sees a lot of those bimmers with all kinds of overheating problems, plastic parts…go figure, and I just laugh at what he tells me the bimmer owners get charged, he has yet to see a Lexus with some major problems, besides oil changes, but the one thing is that when they do have problems they better be ready to spend some money.

    The jury is still out but I am leaning towards the reliability of a Toyota errr… Lexus.

  8. Im in the market for a new car. Ive driven the jaguar x-type, infiniti G35, Audi A4, Volvo s60r, Infinity is350, acura TL, and the BMW 330I. here is what i got

    BMW Pros: best turning in class, most notible name

    Cons: Highest price tag of all with the same options, one of the slower 1/4 mile times, middle of the road luxury, so so styling

    Lexus Pro’s: Best interior, best 1/4 mile times, middle of the road prices.

    Cons: middle of the road handling, no Manual tranny, so so styling.

    dollar for dollar (for me atleast) my top two picks were the g35 and the is350. Basically because they are 5-10K less than the BMW. While i like a fun car, i wont take the car to the max in cornering, but i will take it to the max in straight line acceleration.

    THe question you have to ask yourself, what more important? Luxury? Power? or handling?

    If you want power and luxury (like me), go with the g35 or IS350. If its road course corning you want, go with the bimmer. For me, i dont live in the mountains, im stuck in the rolling plains of the midwest. All we have is straight highways, so the choice was simple for me.

  9. firstly , I have tested both the 2006 BMW-330i and a lexus IS-350 and I can tell that the bimmer is in another league completely !!!
    Don’t believe the 1/4 mile times that states the lexus does 13.7 seconds at 104 mph . No Way !!!
    I own a chrysler 300C Hemi and it will beat an IS-350 in a 1/4 mile no problem !
    The BMW -330i has vastly superior handling and a
    superior rigid body structure that allows you to drive it very hard around corners , yet absorbs bumps without jaring your kidneys after a long drive. The lexus simply was too jaring on regular highway surfaces and could not corner anywhere close to the bimmer without it’s vdim interfering constantly .
    Bang for the buck , go with the bimmer 330i it’s pretty damn good !

  10. Owning both G35 & BMW 330, I’m just so tired of hearing people blah blah the superiority of BMW. Yes, BMW feels communicative and stable at corner, because you sit lower and it got stiffer spring/shock and beefier sway bar. But, you literally bump through every imperfection on the road(especially in CA),which is then, not a very “luxurious” experience when you put down 44000+. G35, on the other hand, accelerate and turn in faster, sized “1” cubic feet less than BMW new 5 and perfect for a 6’1 male, and very civilized ride(almost too comfortable). Oh, and I haven’t mentioned, it’s 13000 less. The complaint will be the tendancy to oversteer between apex and exit, crappy Eagle RS-A tire and 3 mpeg less.
    I’ve brought both cars to the winding mountain road of AngelCrest Hwy, CA, where M/T and Edmunds.com do their car tests. And I’m dissapointed that my costly and smaller and bumpier BMW didn’t even allow 3 mph faster then my G35. I ran it up and down several times and I gave up. The lesson is that, true, BMW ‘feel’s better at lower speed, say, street deriving, but drive it near the limit where tires just start to break off, then G35 is not far behind. Maybe you’ll say “lift throttle” and “opposite lock” also matter, but I doubted anyone applies that regularly on daily driving.
    The verdict is that as much as I wish my 330 would perform a lot better so I can justify and feel better about the 13000 extra I spent, I wished I’d bought 2 G35.
    Maybe I’ll post something later after I borrowed the IS350 from a friend……

  11. Bernie Lyons, I hardly doubt that your 300C (unless it is an SRT) can outpace an IS350.

    I’ve been to the strip twice and had over 20 runs and my worst ET was 13.7.

    By best run was 13.36@105 with 80% of my runs between 13.4 and 13.5.

    Many IS350 owners are running 13.6-9 with ease and are also discovering that their ISes are performing better and better as the engine breaks in.

  12. AD, you are sadly misinformed on Lexus being an upgraded Toyota. TMC is the mother company of Lexus (its autonomous luxury arm). Yes, in the early days, Lexus borrowed many components from Toyota but the latest generation offerings from Lexus are clean sheet designs and technologies developed for and by Lexus. Of course, it makes perfect sense to scale different technologies and components to Lexus’ sister company Toyota are there will be some similarities; eg. ES350 to Camry but the IS is derived from the GS platform.

    Plus, even if Lexus were an upgraded Toyota, I really don’t see that as a deterrent – hmmm, which two companys hold the top two positions on the JD Powers Reliability and Problems (least) reports?

  13. AD, by following your logic, B5 platform Audi A4 shares so many component with VW JETTA, and new A3 shares many plateform with VW GOLF (more close to GTI).

    so~ Audi is also just expensive VW!!
    but do people agree AUDI is a just expensive VW cheap car?
    hell no!

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