BMW it seems is not just the Ultimate Driving Machine, but also the ultimate comparison test winner. If you read any magazine lately with a BMW in it, whether it be the 328i, 335i, M3, 550i, or what have you, you will see that the Bimmer’s are always winning. I got my new Car and Driver in the mail, and started reading it today. On the front cover is the new 135i, oh man what a car. Then I open it up to see a shootout between the new E90 M3 and Lexus’s IS-F. The IS-F is of course a very formidable automobile, especially coming from Lexus.
Lexus was surprisingly able to fit a big V8 under the bonnet of a regular sized IS sedan, and flare out the fenders a little along with providing some other crazy bodywork to the mix. The 5.0L V8 provides a nice hardy 416hp with 371lb-ft of torque. All this matted to an incredible 8-spd paddle shift automatic transmission.
This wasn’t enough to overtake the new M3 though. With 2 less hp and 76 less lb-ft torque, the M3 still delivers the racers delight when it comes to all out performance. There really is no substitute for that M badge on the rear decklid.
The E90 M3 cleared 60 in 4.1s versus the IS-F’s 4.4s and the ¼ mile came up in 12.6s at 113mph against 12.8s at 114. The Bimmer was able to stop a little better at 161 feet while the IS-F took 166 feet. Maybe this can be slightly attributed to the BMW’s 100lb less curb weight at 2680lbs.
Car and Driver even said about the new M3 “in every performance test of note, the M3 outgunned the Lexus, yet it didn’t trail in refinement or comfort. The BMW’s suspension, like the Lexus’s, will never be accused of pampering its driver, but it absorbed every bump without upsetting the chassis.”
The new Lexus has a cheaper fully loaded price of $61,951, while the M3’s fully loaded price comes to a much higher $68,720. This seems to make the IS-F the better buy for such great performance, right? Well, that depends on who you are, but for my money the BMW is tops in my book. Before you call me crazy remember that the M3 has more electronic goodies to make sure that the car fits your particular level and love of driving that you want it to. Each setting of the EDC, Stability Control and the likes will change the settings of the car so much for so many different types of performance driving. You can’t really do that in the Lexus. Plus the BMW comes with a manual instead of the auto only IS-F. That’s worth a bit of coin to me.
Does anyone see a trend here? While the competition is getting stronger and better, it doesn’t seem to make the BMW crew sweat much, if at all. It must be said that the IS-F is a very worthy competitor with all of its muscle car grunt and not just for show performance looks and big bodied V8. But still, with all of this the BMW was quicker around Mazda Laguna Seca by one whole second. That may not seem much to you, but, in racing that is a lot. The M3 took the track in 1:44.10 while the Lexus trailed it at 1:45.10, oddly one second exactly. To put it like C&D put it, “we’d never kick this car (the Lexus) out of our garage, and for a first swing, it’s impressive, but there’s a better choice.” I think that about sums it up.
Check out the new Car and Driver issue for May. You won’t be disappointed.
Article by Josh from RawAutos.com