Last post on May 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM
You are in the BMW 3-Series
What is this discussion about?
Lexus IS, Lexus IS 250, Lexus IS 350, BMW 3 Series, Sedan
#1438 of 1527 Re: A sad BMW story [bmw55]
Feb 06, 2007 (8:33 am)
I find myself wondering how difficult it is to retrofit early E46 323i models with a manual transmission. Nah, probably not worth it.
I also find myself wondering who is really to blame for these failures (yeah, yeah, yeah. I know BMW put the transmission in their car so the buck should ultimately stop with them). Why would I wonder such a thing? If I recall correctly, either ZF or a French subsidiary of GM was building BMWs automatic 3-Series transmissions back in 1999 and 2000. Could it be that BMW is stalling so that they can get some concessions from the manufacturer?
#1439 of 1527 Re: A sad BMW story [bmw55]
Feb 06, 2007 (9:54 am)
Here is how I would play this. You do not have a problem now and you intend to loose 3K in a sale. You could keep the car and a problem might never devlop.
My uncle owned an automatic transmission shop in Brooklyn, NY for over 40 years. The trannys wear and are very intricate. He serviced ALL autos.
(The tranny fluid is the key so maintain this religiously. I'll gamble you never have a problem.
#1440 of 1527 Re: A sad BMW story [circlew]
Feb 06, 2007 (10:34 pm)
Thanks guys, for the replies about my 323i transmission. Shipo, you are quite correct about the history of that GM transmission. It's BMW's responsibility.
Today I drove a IS250 for the 1st time at the local dealer. Very impressed!! My son has a '06 BMW 325i, manual shift, sport suspension and I can say his car's fit and finish, quality of materials, workmanship is at a higher level than the Lexus. In some ways it may even drive better. This is probably a personal opinion issue.
Would I have another BMW? Not on your life! The IS250 with stock suspension handles great with minimal roll, excellent ride vs handling compromise. Terrific control around fast sweepers. Incredibly smooth engine with more than adequate power from the 204HP V6. If I do have a gripe, it is that the transmission is TOO smooth..you never know what gear it's in. I like to have some type of involvement when the car shifts gears (bad knee, can't buy a manual shift). It's almost as if the trans is a CVT. The paddles are useless..might as well remove them. The ultimate auto in this respect is the Audi A3 with DSG trans. Those paddles really work, and instantaneously (I test drove it last week). The A3 w/ s-line suspension is a great car but is a little too hard edged for me..similar to a Mini Cooper smoothed out somewhat. If the IS250 had DSG (which I think it will someday) it would truly be an incredible car.
My biggest concern about the IS250 was the back seat leg room. After adjusting the front seats the way my wife and I use them on my BMW, the rear leg room is certainly adequate...about as good as my 2000 BMW (I'm 5'11). This Lexus is not meant to take 4 adults of normal size on a 4 hr road trip (which is fine with me..let the other couple take their own car). I was so relieved there is enough room back there.
The deciding factor for me of the IS250 over all other competitors is the Lexus long-term reliability. This is where Lexus stands out from the field. I am retired and I'd like to keep the car 10 yrs. I only drive 8 or 9 000 miles a year with my car and I feel the BMW or Audi with have major cost issues after a few years. I'm not even planning to buy an extended warranty on the Lexus (after 7 yrs I'll only have 56,000 mi. est.)
Good luck guys on your IS250 - one of the best cars for the money out there.
#1441 of 1527 Re: A sad BMW story [bmw55]
Feb 07, 2007 (3:39 am)
"Would I have another BMW? Not on your life!"
I understand completely, once burned (or at least potentially burned in this case) and all of that...
A couple of questions:
1) Did you have the chance to drive the A3 without the S-Line package? I've driven both and the base car is much softer than the S-Line.
2) Are you sure about the back seat room on the IS? I'm only 5'8" and with the driver's seat set for me, my (then) 11 year old son couldn't fit in the back seat behind me. The flip side was that in the A3 set up the same way, not only could he fit back there, so could I.
3) Other than your pending transmission issue, do you have any other problems with your 323i? I ask because given your annual mileage, wouldn't it just be cheaper to buy a new tranny for it (if/when it fails) and keep on driving it?
#1442 of 1527 Re: A sad BMW story [shipo]
Feb 07, 2007 (7:08 am)
Shipo, I didn't get a chance to drive the A3 without the S-Line package. I thought it might lean too much in the curves as some have reported. The s-line may not be as much of a problem as I have stated since the car I test drove had 38 psi on all four tires. If it were reduced to say, 33-34 psi it may have ridden significantly better. In the "fun-to-drive" quotient, the A3 may be at the top of the pack. The car is a blast to drive - one of the most responsive cars I've ever driven. I think the size and smoothness (and great ride AND handling of the IS250) have me leaning toward the IS over the A3. I hate to say it but maybe my age is showing. If I were 25 to low 40's I'd probably pick the A3 w/ s-line. Cost is not a factor for me.
You may be correct about the rear legroom on the A3. If I adjusted it correctly it may have as much or more than the IS250.
The reason I'm satisfied with the rear legroom of the IS250 is probably the way I adjusted the front seats to fit me. I'm 5'11", and I raised the front seat to its highest position possible (this is important), I even tilted the back seat somewhat more than the average driver (bad back so I need to recline it more than normal) but it still provided me with enough room in the back seat without even having to have my knees positioned on either side of the front seat back. In the driver's seat I had about 1" from my knees to the dash. I need my twin, 7 yr old grandsons to fit back there and I think up to the age of 15 or so, they'll fit fine. I even feel adult men could fit there, but not for a long drive. So, in conclusion, the rear leg room is adequate, but barely so.
About the BMW transmission issue:
You brought up a good point. My 323i is in mint condition with only 54K miles; however, this transmission problem occurs without warning and I could be stranded out of town on a trip, without any reassurance that I could find a replacement trans within weeks of a breakdown. If I knew the percent of these cars failing I would have a better feel about keeping or selling it. If it were 1 out of 20 failing (5%), I'd definitely keep it. If it were 30% failing then that is too much of a risk for me (my wife would kill me if it failed on a trip since she's fully aware of the problem).
Sure, going by cost alone, I'd be much better off keeping the car until the trans fails and somehow fix it when it occurs (how long would the reconditioned trans last though?)
And how long would I have to wait to get it repaired since there is apparently a shortage of available tranmissions.
Thanks for your comments.
#1443 of 1527 Re: 2006 BMW 3-series vs. 2006 Lexus IS [rgg3000]
Feb 14, 2007 (7:07 pm)
It is a Toyota with an L. But to say it is without soul simply ignores its attributes. How many V6 cars, German or Japanese, can smoke a 5.7 liter Pontiac GTO in the quarter mile, average 20+ mpg at the track, and provide a generally fun, balanced ride through the curves? The M3 can, but no other 3-series approaches the IS350s overall balance.
#1444 of 1527 Re: 2006 BMW 3-series vs. 2006 Lexus IS [cartroll]
Feb 14, 2007 (8:47 pm)
First off, no BMW has EVER had a V6. Yuck.
Secondly, a BMW 335i will take an IS350 apart in every driving catagory, road or track, period, full stop, the end.
#1445 of 1527 Re: 2006 BMW 3-series vs. 2006 Lexus IS [carmonkey]
Feb 15, 2007 (4:06 am)
"How many V6 cars, German or Japanese, can smoke a 5.7 liter Pontiac GTO in the quarter mile, average 20+ mpg at the track, and provide a generally fun, balanced ride through the curves? The M3 can, but no other 3-series approaches the IS350s overall balance."
You are either kidding, drunk or both, right?
Taking a slushbox to the track? Calling it fun and balanced in the curves? I'll concede that the Lexus IS is a very worthy entry level luxury car. It isn't in the same solar system as a 335i 6-speed or even, for that matter, a 328i, on the sport/performance front. Ditto for the GS vs. the 550i.
Feb 21, 2007 (8:39 pm)
Here's my test drive experience.
My friend was planning to buy an entry lux sedan and wanted to check out the Lexus IS and the BMW 3 series. He asked me to go along with him and check 'em out.
I drove the Lexus IS 250 next. This is my first time driving anything more expensive than a Corolla. The IS250 is a beautiful car. Everything on the inside was beautiful quality. The leather, the plastics, the wood, metal everything felt great to touch and looked beautiful. It seemed to be chock-full of gadgets too: the helpful rear camera that comes on on the nav screen when you reverse, the touch screen nav system that seems easy to use, bluetooth, etc. It certainly had adequate power. The ride was harsh, but not uncomfortable. I didn't push the car too hard on the test drive, but the IS250 felt very comfortable with accelerating out of turns. There was enough passing power on the freeway. The brakes were very powerful. It was a beautiful machine inside and out. It felt and looked like a 35k+ car inside and out, and even had the tech toys to prove it. Even the salespperson was super polite, super helpful in explaining everything on the car. I really liked the car.
Then I went over to the BMW dealership. The sales people were courteous, but not overly friendly. They didn't really try to sell the car - the guy simply said - "Okay, here's the 328i sedan. I'll just sit in the back, let me know if you have questions." The car looks nice, but in my opinion, the Lexus is slightly better looking. Inside, it feels cold and very spartan. The interior is functional and nice but certainly not "luxurious" looking. I was beginning to feel a little let down. The famed BMW didn't seem to be even remotely comparable. And then, I started the car and began to drive.
It took me all of 10 seconds before I actually started to giggle! This car is ridiculously fun to drive! The steering, chassis, and the brakes are magical. The chassis lets you know everything about the road without ever being uncomfortable. It is firm, but never harsh. The steering somehow felt "right". It's hard to explain, but the Lexus didn't draw you in like the BMW did. Every part of the car seems to know exactly what you want - the engine responds beautifully to your foot with linear acceleration. The car invites you to drive faster and is remarkably composed no matter what you do! By the end of my 15 minute drive, I was in love. I'd read about "telepathic steering" and "sublime handling" in magazines, but was very skeptical. This car is all of that and more.
Lexus probably offers more value for money. The Lexus is certainly a more refined, elegant, polished, and beautiful machine. But it is a machine. The BMW, magically, has soul!
To me, there is no comparison.
I've since driven the 335i, and it is a bit more fun that the 328i. On regular streets - I don't think I'd want to pay the extra 6-7K for the 335. I also drove the Mercedes C350 which was a little more fun than the IS250, less gadgety, and equally well finished. But that too was not as fun as the BMW. I'm looking forward to driving the G35 to see if it is as much fun.
#1447 of 1527 IS 250: BMW 328
by jerry k
Feb 22, 2007 (3:58 pm)
I had the BMW 325 at one point and just sold my Mercedes CLK 320 and have had the Lexus IS 250 for a week. I am past the age where a car needs to be fun for me to drive - I want style - I want a beautiful car inside and out - I want to feel comfortable when I drive the car - and most of all I want decent value since every car begins to depreciate once you drive it home from the showroom. I'm not a kid anymore - I don't care about 0-60 in 6 seconds or less (if I did I would have gotten the IS 350) - bottom line: the IS 250 is the best of the three cars I have had if you consider the ride - the style and the comfort. Just my opinion but if you are over 40 then it's the IS 250 - if you're a kid and haven't matured yet then get your fun in the 328 or 335 - but when you become an adult and grow up you'll see the difference. Oh yeah, I got my IS 250 fully equipped for $8000 less than what a comparable 328 would have cost me!!!