GS300 vs BMW 530i

How would the GS300 compare to the BMW 530i?
Is the Lexus as much fun to drive? Is it fun at all to drive? What about reliability and performance?
Jim
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The Lexus is a sporty Buick, the BMW is the 'best car ever tested' by one of the major consumer magazines. Owning a BMW and having test driven the GS, I agree.
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Actually, you're wrong about Lexus. Lexus is the best Cadillac that GM never built. And if you think that's an insult to Toyota/Lexus, you need to think a bit more.
BMW's are, without question, sportier than most equivalent Lexi (the single exception being the IS which is sportier than the equivalent 3-series) while Lexi are, also without question, more reliable and (me-thinks) more comfortable.
Overall, it's a great pity Toyota chooses not to compete head-on with BMW. They seem more interested in competing with M-B, for some strange reason. Toyota could easily sell very high performance Lexus models in the U.S., if they wanted to, and match or exceed BMW sportiness. (It's been done, witness the fabled Supra TT.) Putting the LS V8 in an IS is certainly "do-able" and would result in a very serious M3 challenger. They just don't want to do it.
It's unlikely, on the other hand, that BMW could match Lexus build quality no matter how hard they try. Even the best BMW in terms of build quality, the 5-series, merely matches Buick and is no threat at all to Toyota/Lexus on that count.
--

- GRL

"It's good to want things."
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one
GS,
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Don't insult the Buick owners. My Regal is better engineered and built with better materials yhan any Lexus. The only thing Lexus has going is the interior plastic. Very well done. Really a womans car....

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Lexi are priced like Caddy's, not Buicks. Buicks are priced like Toyotas, but they have worse build quality, which is not to say it's bad build quality, just worse than Toyota. Demonstrated fact.
Cheers.
- GRL
"It's good to want things."
Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)

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Nice try, no American company can build a vehicle with the reliability and quality of Toyota/Lexus. Buick is no exception.

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Don't need to have owned a bimmer to be able to read what the results are of owner surveys as supplied by Consumer Reports which polls lots of bimmer (and other brand) owners. Looking at my April 2003 issue (p.85) I see that for 200 models the average problems per 100 vehicles for BMW was 54. For Buick it was 49. For Lexus it was 25, as it was for Toyota. Then go look at the reliability tables starting on p. 90. Check the Buick Lesabre and compare with the 5-Series. Pretty much the same reliability, which is to say quite good. Then go look at any Lexus. What you see is obviously better than either.
I don't say that your bimmer is comparable to a Buick in any way except in build quality, where the Buick is a little better. Lexus (and Toyota) are significantly better than either. Nothing insipid there. Nothing. Just simple examination of unbiased statistical information provided by owners, like you. By the way, if you cruise through the BMW news group you will find plenty of owners bitching about their troubles with BMW reliability. It's what gnaws at me whenever I think about buying a BMW. Having owned an LS for a decade with superb reliability, I'm not sure I'd be willing to put up with the problems these owners report. I'm spoiled by excellent reliability. Sure wish Lexus put more driver involvement into their cars, though, and be more BMW-like in that one regard (only).
One last thing, that 540 you own, it's just a car. It's not you, though. It's not part of your personality, either. If someone says that it's build quality is no better than a Buick's, it's just a demonstrated fact and not a shot at you. It's not an insult. A lot of BMW owners seem to forget that. (Witness the pots in the BMW news group.) Part of the great BMW spin machine's effect on owners, I'm afraid.
No offense taken and none intended.
- GRL
"It's good to want things."
Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)

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Reading Consumer Reports buying guide (2002) I find the following-
-Four models of Buick and eight model years highlight the "Used Cars to Avoid by Make and Year" list- (p. 182) versus one BMW (Z3- of course built in the US) and one model year (its initial year). What, other than lacking build quality, could cause an auto to be included in this list of shame?
-BMW 3-series is included in "The Best Used Cars" list (p.179)- no Buick models are included.
-BMW places two models in the "Recommended" list (pp. 156-158), with reliability ratings of average and better than average and depreciation much better than average while Buick places one model in the list(Park Avenue- average reliability and much worse than average depreciation).
-CU has rated the 530i the "best car ever tested", something I don't recall ever associated with any Buick in my memory
These are just "demonstrated facts" for you.
A couple of other points- "Build quality" is a term of art subject to one's own definition. I consider quality of paint (come to SW Florida and see what a Park Avenue looks like after 5 years of our scorching sun), interior materials, exterior body parts and accessories (plastic faux chrome, anyone?), and the like just as relevant in a discussion of "build quality" as "avg. problems per 100 vehicles".
Secondly, I have participated in BMW Usenet groups and "Roadfly" discussions for years and of course, much discussion is made of problems and solutions. BMWs are targeted for enthusiasts, and these folks tend to become more intimately familiar with their vehicles than the average Buick owner as suggested by demographics. Folks that are happy and aren't experiencing problems tend NOT to post in such places- therefore I reject your position "plenty of BMW owners bitching.." means anything without context.
Like I said, I'm on my fifth Bimmer, so my bias is evident. However, I am buying an LX-470 next week. I also agree with you that from a quality and reliability perspective, BMW trails Lexus by a considerable margin. It is funny- BMW has actually improved in this respect based solely on my personal experience. The lightning success of Lexus has caused BMW to completely re-evaluate their focus on quality, reliability, scheduled service, and the dealership experience. They have improved by leaps and bounds since the pre-Lexus 1980's, but admittedly still trail.
If I reacted personally regarding your analogy of build quality between BMW and Buick, that wasn't my intent. My choice of language was unfortunate, I concede. However, I am not some crazed yuppie dazzled by the shiney roundel symbol. I've actually been known to work on my autos ;-).
rt

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Well, your information is dated w.r.t. the 3-Series. This year it made the to be avoided used car list (boy did that ever piss off the true-believers over at alt.autos.BMW). You could almost see the sad expression on the CU editors face when they made that recommendation. They really like the 3-series.
I'm not sure we are comparing apples and apples. I know that the reliability ratings are strictly that reliability. A crummy design that drives like a dog can still be very reliable. The recommended list includes reliability, but it may include other facets of car ownership as well. Like depreciation. Not sure. I'm going by the reliability rating charts in the April 2003 issue and there the big Buicks (at least recent ones) are right in the same league with BMW. I think the smaller models don't do as well. GM actually does a pretty good job of putting together their big cars, which the Park and the LeSabre are some of.
I agree with you 100% that both BMW and Mercedes Benz got a giant slap upside their heads from Toyota/Lexus when the Ls came out in 1990 at $36,000. It was S-class size at E-class prices with far better build quality than either. Same for BMW, but maybe to a lessor extent. Both Germans (and Audi) reacted by improving their quality, but Lexus is a moving target and it still leads them by a bunch, especially M-B who have slipped again of late and their management has admitted it. The really interesting player is GM Cadillac which is quickly moving up in build quality and now there are starting to appear Caddy's that are real driver's cars (CTS-V in particular is a lunge at the jugular of BMW's current M5). Competition is good. Wish Lexus would follow Cadillac's lead on this.
Hope you've enjoyed our little exchange, I have.
Is your 540i a manual?
- GRL
"It's good to want things."
Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)

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tested'
driven
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Funny you should mention the Escalade. I happen to own a 2000 GMC Yukon XL which I bought for ~$32,000 after my GM supplier discount and GM Master Card rebate bucks discount in 2000 when they were new and extremely hot. List was right at $40,000. It's been a very reliable truck and no rattles to speak of other than the coins I keep in the ash tray. The engine (5.3 L) is every bit as smooth as the V8 in our Gen 1 LS400...and that's a very smooth engine. Fit and finish are good to very good, but not Lexus or Toyota quality. Plastics and fabrics leave something to desire.
As it happens, a colleague bought a Cadillac Escalade a week ago and he showed it to me. The sticker was $60,000 (I was flabbergasted) and he paid about $48,000 after (numerous) discounts plus three years free financing. Other than a bit of wood trim, a bunch of electronic gadgets, some other minor changes and a REALLY NICE navigation system, I don't see too much difference between it and my three year old Yukon. Did not ride in it. I sure don't see $20,000 worth of difference. This is not to say that it is poorly finished. It is nicely finished, but not at the $60,000 price level. When I consider than an entry level LS is $55,000, that only mystifies me more as to how GM managed to price the Escalade that high. Of course, with all the incentives, no one pays that much for it. Maybe they figure they'll need the incentives to move it and purposely set the list ridiculously high.
On the other hand, I just got my Car & Driver and they compare the Caddy SRX V-8, Infiniti FX45, Porsche Cayenne S and VW Touareg (goofy name) V-8 and the Caddy beat them all. Now it's true that's the new Caddy vs. the old Caddy (represented by the DeVilles and Escalade), but it's further indication that Caddy is changing for the better and the other guys better watch out...especially with the big Cadillacs going to RWD. We love our LS400, but I don't see it impossible that my next new car purchase may just be a Cadillac if they keep the good work up.
- GRL
"It's good to want things."
Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)

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one's
interior
In addition to the excellent discussion on this subject - the fact that there are different interpratations to what consists of "Build Quality" is exactly why statistical surveys use a large random sample in order to create a mean that is very close to the true mean of the population and reflects this difference in interpretation. The fact that you and I do not agree with each other on the meaning of "Build Quality" does not mean that the un-biased statistical data is wrong. It is still a closer interpratation of what the general public at large feels about it than any of our individual opinions and as such is a good measure of the statistic being measured.
Having said that - the results are nothing more than a number and you can (and often do) make different dicision based on your own opinion - it only makes sense.
Ron.
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quality"
create
with
of
Good point- you have clearly explained what was "in my head" but couldn't make it to the keyboard.
Does Alzheimer's ever start in one's late-30's? ;-)
rt
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BMW.
reason.
quality
quality,
Toyota/Lexus
a
banal.
I also have a beemer... two of them, a 2002 M5 and 1998 740. Both in the shop at least once a month.
It's stupid crap like on my m5, the mirrors started folding in and out... on their own while driving... Fun to drive, yes, reliable, no....
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If you read back far enough on this thread, I think you will find I compared the ride of the Lexus to a Buick. BMW is unique and I think the best drivers' car in the price range. You can not beat an E39 BMW for driving pleasure. I hope the new 5, E60, is as good or better.
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compared
To be honest with you, neither E39 I owned provided the driving pleasure I enjoyed from my E34. Perhaps the Eibach springs and Bilsteins had something to do with that? Oh yeah, the Dinan chip...
rt
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Our E34 is also one of the favorite cars. My wife and the BMW technician love it.

driving
Oh
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I must've been lucky-
150,000 miles- original clutch and rotors, AC was great.
Only prob. was the damn rear door peeling that plagued those models.
rt

I
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