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Why Do Buyers Choose Lexus RC F or IS 350 Instead of BMW M4 or 335i?

We asked owners of Lexus performance vehicles like IS F, IS 350 F Sport, and RC F coupes why they opted for a Lexus instead of a BMW. Here’s what they told us.

Our recent interview of a Lexus RC F owner brought to light an interesting subject. Josh, the interviewee, mentioned that when he was looking to move up from his Lexus IS 350 F-Sport he considered a BMW M4. However, scarce availability of the BMW, coupled with excellent service at his Lexus dealer, factored into his decision to buy an RC F. Torque News maintains a close relationship with a number of Facebook Clubs for owners of the Lexus IS sedan and RC coupes. We reached out to the approximately 15,000 members and simply asked “When you bought your Lexus, did you consider a BMW? If so, give us the top two reasons you chose a Lexus instead.” Here is what current owners of Lexus performance vehicles said.

Lexus IS Sport Sedan Owner Replies:
-Kenneth C: I was choosing between a Lexus IS F or BMW M3. My friend has an M3 that he bought brand new, and the maintenance became quite expensive when the BMW ran out of warranty. The IS F looks better than the M3. Reliability and lower maintenance costs were a big factor in choosing the IS F.
-Mark W: Reliability. I can do most maintenance and repairs I'm likely to need with regular hand tools. Not having MacPherson (struts) was a close third.
-Anthony L: Reliability and repair cost. Hate to say it but I like the looks of the M4 more than my RCF. I don't track the car so the low-end torque would be more fun around town. And the option to do bolt-on and tune puts the M4 in the 500ish hp and torque. But I've seen the price of replacing a turbo on the 335i, and that dissuaded me all together.
-Eric JT: Reliability, cost of repairs, power to price ratio, and Lexus drivers have a better reputation.
-Kory G: BMW charges you an arm and a leg for oil change. BMW brake maintenance costs are also high. I own a 2008 Lexus IS350. Its spark plugs are easy to change. I do think Lexus’ labor fees are high, but I do my own work. You'll pass a BMW 3-Series or 5- Series like nothing with this 300+hp Lexus engine.
-Alfred L: The new Lexus interior was more appealing to me. One can't go wrong with Toyota’s reliability. I'd still rock the M series, though!
-Esref GM: Lexus is the most reliable car. There are a lot of aftermarket parts for Lexus IS cars. The IS sedan’s shape and look is timeless. Advanced technology for low price.
-Marcos S: IS is a more reliable car with a better resale price.
-Anthony G: I'm 17, and I wanted a fast, reliable car. I was torn between the BMW 335i and Lexus IS 350. I choose the 2006 Lexus IS 350 with 145K miles and have not had any maintenance but oil changes. My cousin bought an ‘07 BMW 335i with 104k and has put more than 2k in repairs into it so far.

RC 350 and RC F Coupe Owners Replies
-Mark Y: I preferred the Lexus Dealership experience to BMW’s. The RCF is just so damn sexy!
-Mort G: Lexus looks and Lexus reliability. I have owned 5 Lexus with zero problems.
-Alvin H: Reliability, quality, and design. BMWs all look the same- boring! I don't drive a BMW because it's a BMW. I drive a Lexus because it's not a BMW.
-Rafi R: Lexus reliability. The BMW is great during its warranty, but then you have to trade it.
-Josh B (The original inspiration for the story): Maintenance costs. The Lexus is more affordable after 50K miles, particularly regarding brakes.

Reliability and cost of ownership are clearly important to Lexus performance vehicle owners. Their opinions are based not just on the many objective studies that put Lexus on top, but also personal experience. Style, performance and value are also recurring themes. We are happy to see that although many of the respondents to our survey are blunt about Lexus having better reliability than BMW, none insulted BMW’s performance or capabilities, and many complimented the brand.

Editing note: Owner comments were done in the style of FB commentary. Torque News only edited the comments with grammar corrections and for formatting. See the full discussion at the following Facebook clubs: Lexus RC Club, Lexus IS250/350/ISF Owners page, Lexus IS Owners Club
Image Note: Lexus RC image at top of page used with the permission of of Scott Wilson. Smaller images courtesy of Lexus.

Related Stories:
How BMW M4 beats Cadillac ATS-V and Lexus RC F in head to head challenge
2015 Lexus RC F and BMW M4 basically tie on racetrack
Are the 2015 Lexus RC F and 2015 BMW M4 really competitors?
2014 Lexus IS 350 beats BMW 335i in comparison test - again
2015 Lexus RC F vs. BMW M3 - Which is your better track car?
Green comparison of 2015 BMW 535d to Lexus GS 450h shows diesel’s dead-end


Erick Wong (not verified)    March 18, 2016 - 4:56PM

I own (and have owned) a few BMW's. I'll admit, the comments in this article aren't wrong. I suppose I've even been somewhat conditioned to expect bigger bills on my repairs. To be fair, I'd probably consider another make like the Lexus, if not for the fact I couldn't find an AWD IS with a manual transmission.

S (not verified)    March 18, 2016 - 6:05PM

I went with BMW only because I am friends with the dealership mechanic, AND I bought the extended warranty. If not for those things, Lexus is the easy choice.

Abba (not verified)    March 19, 2016 - 6:40PM

Clearly, Lexus is the best car brand right. Lexus design is second to none. Bmws and Audis are for old men or young ----..that's the truth (Edited)

Mike (not verified)    March 20, 2016 - 8:21AM

I tried both M4 and Rcf. I ordered the RCF then read about it in C&D and MT magazines. I' ve decided to go and try again the M4 bacause i was not sure anymore. Then after around 200km test drive i have comfirmed my choice to the Lexus dealer. The main reason? I hated the steering feel of the M4. This point is a very important factor for me. The steering feel of The RCF was and is great.

matt (not verified)    May 13, 2016 - 3:08AM

having owned two bmw's and 2 lexus's i feel reasonably qualified to answer this.
Bmw seem totally incapable of solving any true problem with the car ma simply keep telling you they will update the software etc . They rely on their customers being embarrassed at buying a lemon that they will not broadcast it . If you ask around its incredible how many people have similar stories . i spent almost 8 weeks in loan cars after spending $150K on an X5 and eventually traded it for a lexus .Lexus pick my car up for service and since then the only reason i have been at the dealer is to select a new rcf

R (not verified)    July 11, 2016 - 4:56PM

Reliability- Lexus over BMW. Note to new buyers. Brakes and tires wear quick on the F models.
Performance- BMW over Lexus. Have to be on a track to see the differences. No manual option for Lexus
Dealer experience- Tie. Have had negative Lexus dealer experiences and positive ones. Unfortunately not all dealers are the same.
BMW- better when leased. Usually non M models for best lease deals
(BMW problems usually occur post lease).

If your keeping it long term- Lexus
If your Leasing -BMW

IS350 Philip SD (not verified)    February 12, 2018 - 3:27PM

My Lexus 06 IS 350 has 249K miles on it now, I purchased used @ 140K miles about 4 years ago. For the last ~110K miles I have changed 2 set of tires 265x35x19 ,1 set of 4 rotors and brakes and oil change every 12k-15K . I still love my IS350 I will get a used RCF in 2 years