Is BMW Better than Lexus?

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For nearly a century, German automakers have ruled the luxury car market with their premium offerings. Whenever luxury cars are discussed, BMW is always mentioned due to its graceful portfolio that’s full of iconic vehicles.

The Japanese, after making a name for themselves with brilliant reliability and excellent quality, jumped into the luxury car market with Lexus in 1989, and became a competitor of BMW.

Since then, the tug of war has become fiercer between the two great manufacturers. With a similar lineup, quality of car, and high-tech features available, the competition between the two has never been tougher.

So, the question is, which one should you go for? Is BMW better than Lexus?

Choosing a car is a matter of personal choice, but overall, Lexus is a better choice for people looking for a reliable and comfortable car that won’t break the bank to maintain. A BMW is a superior choice for those who prioritize style and performance.

While BMW enjoys a bigger legacy with a graceful history and some iconic cars in its portfolio, Lexus flourishes as a young trendsetter with its ever-improving technology and reliability.

BMW produces some exceptionally attractive cars

Let’s compare the two in detail and understand which one of the two great car companies is better, BMW or Lexus?

Is Lexus More Reliable than BMW?

With Lexus being of Japanese origin, there is simply no comparison. Japanese cars are extremely reliable, and a Lexus is a more reliable car than a BMW.

Over the years, Lexus has topped all the charts in reliability and quality of manufacturing. Be it consumer reports, independent reporting by auto journalists, or statistical testing over time, there is not match for Lexus dependability.

Lexus GS 300h engine
Lexus GS 300h engine

Most studies place Lexus at either the number one or two spot in the reliability stakes. Thanks to flawless manufacturing, the use of high-quality raw material, and extensive testing by the company, Lexus cars really don’t tend to break down, even after rugged usage.

BMW, on the other hand, has suffered with reliability over the decades. Mostly due to the premature failure of mechanical components and lack of overall dependability.

Some of the most common issues occur even before 100,000 miles and these cars require regular, expensive maintenance to stay healthy.

If something does go wrong with a BMW, there are bound to be some hefty bills to pay as well.

According to Consumer Reports, Lexus takes the top spot while BMW ranks 18th in Reliability Testing.

Is Lexus More Expensive than BMW?

When comparing base prices, a Lexus is actually cheaper than a BMW. Optional extras can also make a significant difference in the overall cost of these cars, however.

A Price Comparison

Lexus IS: $38,500

BMW 3 Series: $41,500

It is also important to understand that BMW offers more features as standard, while you have to pay for some of those if you want them in a Lexus. This may explain the slight difference in average base price.

BMW 330e
BMW 3 Series

If you’re looking at a fully loaded version of either car, it is likely that the BMW will still work out to be more expensive than the Lexus.

BMW vs Lexus – Which Sells More?

In the USA, BMW is the leader in luxury car sales along with Tesla, thanks to its diverse lineup and wide range of trims available in all models. Lexus follows closely behind.

Annual Lexus sales in the USA overtook Mercedes and Audi back in 2021, but it remains behind BMW.

BMW takes the lead over Lexus in global sales as well and sells far more cars than its Japanese competitor. This is primarily because of the larger footprint BMW has, as it commands a vast network of dealerships across the world.

BMW vs Lexus – Maintenance Costs

Lexus is one of the least expensive cars to maintain in the luxury segment. As Lexus is a subsidiary of Toyota, there is a lot of parts sharing and cost-saving in manufacturing, due to joint operations and development.

Lexus IS
Lexus IS

A BMW, like other German cars, is one of the most expensive cars to maintain, particularly at company dealerships as they use expensive OEM parts and lubricants.

Dealerships also use costly diagnostic tools and equipment and hire company-trained technicians for the job, hence the additional cost over the average.

BMWs can also be difficult to work on, meaning that independent garages may not want to touch them. This makes it challenging to find good quality alternatives to dealership maintenance.

A Lexus is comparatively less expensive to maintain than a BMW, which is one of the most expensive cars to maintain among the German luxury manufacturers as well.

Here are the annual maintenance costs of both auto manufacturers for comparison.

Overall CostsBMWLexus
Yearly maintenance cost$950 – $1,100$550 – $850
Oil change$200$150
Filters (oil and air)$160$100
Brake pads$350$220
Scheduled service$400$300

BMW vs Lexus – Performance

Both Lexus and BMW are designed to be luxury cars with more than adequate performance. But while Lexus focuses more on quality and ride comfort, BMW takes the crown when it comes to performance.

If normal BMWs are not fast and quirky enough for you, the Bavarian manufacturer has a dedicated department for high performance models; BMW M.

BMW M5 and M2
BMW M5 and M2

M cars are sportier versions of the company’s regular sedans and coupes that offer exhilarating performance, along with luxury.

Although Lexus also has sporty editions of its own cars, such as the IS F, they’re not as mature, sought-after, and iconic as a BMW M car.

If you’re looking for performance, BMW M is the clear winner, while performance Lexus cars remain impressive.

Lexus vs BMW – Comfort and Economy

In terms of comfort and economy, Lexus beats BMW. All Lexus cars are designed to offer unrivaled levels of comfort. The seats are extremely comfortable, and the cabin is very quiet thanks to the use of premium materials that insulate well.

BMW, on the other hand, offers a more engaging and fun driving experience while also focusing on trendy interiors and luxury tech.

BMW i8 interior
BMW i8 interior

These cars are spacious and comfortable as well, but the focus is more on driving dynamics, performance, and luxury.

If you want a comfortable car with all the bells and whistles, Lexus should your top choice. On the other hand, a BMW would be a better choice for those who prioritize driving pleasure.

Although buyers of this segment sometimes don’t worry about fuel economy, it’s definitely still a consideration for many.

In terms of fuel economy, Lexus is again the better choice as many of its cars offer excellent fuel efficiency. It also shares a hybrid platform with Toyota, which is renowned for its groundbreaking hybrid vehicles.

BMW is not lagging too far behind as it also offers hybrid versions of some of its cars, and is focusing on developing the ‘BMW i’ range; an electric car lineup for the future.

In general, however, its vehicles are not currently as fuel-efficient as their Lexus counterparts. Lexus cars are better for overall fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions.

Final Verdict

Lexus and BMW are two great car companies that have been offering quality luxury cars over the decades. While Lexus is great when it comes to reliability, build quality, and overall driving comfort, BMW cannot be beaten in luxury and performance.

While a Lexus is the best choice if you’re looking for a reliable and comfortable car, BMW remains an extremely popular choice for luxury car enthusiasts all over the world.

This can be attributed to the company’s long-standing reputation for quality, performance, and luxury, along with a healthy dose of brand loyalty.

Which one would we choose here at The Car Investor? We’ve actually already made up our minds. We have two BMWs in the garage, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

1996 BMW 840
Our BMW 840

Whichever one you choose, you can be sure that you’re getting a quality car from a reputable manufacturer.


Adam Chinn writes about the intersecting worlds of classic cars, driving pleasure, and smart investment strategies. Starting his journey at 26, he’s proven that one doesn’t need to be wealthy to begin investing in classic cars.

Adam’s insights have been recognized on platforms such as MoneyInc, Swagger Magazine, and Top Speed.

Click here to learn more >>

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